Monthly Archives: January 2014

Sanitation Innovation Design Contest 2013

With the deadlines for the SIDC2013 (Sanitation Innovation Design Contest) coming to a close, FIN India (the coordinator of SIDC2013) brought the other members of the organizing committee and judges to the forefront through our Facebook page.  We hoped that the entries for the contest would help bridge the gaps that exist in the sanitation creation and delivery cycle and help improve the situation as it currently stood. One of the organizing partners for the SIDC was Ideaken, a startup which helps companies with their problem-solving-through-collaboration initiatives.

Madhu Mani who works as a software professional, is interested in human creativity and innovation. He is also Director at ideaken and had this to say, “You may be wondering what the link between innovation and software is! Frankly, our mind works in strange ways. The more varied and diverse our experience, the more innovative and creative we are. We are living in challenging times today. We have many global social issues – right from poverty, sanitation to education for all. These social challenges can be solved only if the best minds work together. It is in this context that I appreciate the approach taken by the FINISH team as regards the Sanitation Innovation Design Contest 2013. I had the privilege of working with the FINISH team during the first sanitation contest and it was indeed a humbling experience to understand the sanitation issues of rural India and the wonderful work done by the team in spite of the various challenges.

SIDC had a unique selling point, according to Mani, it was a chance to make a real difference to the lives of the people living in rural India. The added prize money that was involved also made it a great opportunity for the global pool of participants who he called on to contribute widely to make the endeavor a success.

The sponsor of SIDC2013 is FINISH society (New Delhi). The contest is an outcome of informal conversations between Valentin Post (WASTE, NL) and Shyama V. Ramani (FIN, India) after she told Valentin about an innovation contest she had held for rural masons. Valentin said, “But, why don’t we do it for the whole of India?”. And that’s how WASTE which is a founding partner of FINISH society in New Delhi launched a programme of identifying cost effective replicable sanitation systems for rural India through contests. The purpose is to incorporate the best innovations generated by the contest, in the thousands of toilets being installed in rural India under the FINISH programme. Thus, they emphasized that ‘Technology’ was only one part of the solution – the other core component is business viability.

Eventually we received 24 entries from all over the world from experts in sanitation, architecture students and civil engineers who took part with great enthusiasm.