Manual scavenging in India has been related to the cruel and inhuman practice of untouchability. In 1993, India banned all employment or hiring an individual for cleaning and carrying human excreta, with the passing of the Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, 1993, but it continues to find practitioners.

Janvikas realised that legislation alone cannot solve the problem related to manual scavenging and also, lack of implementation of law facilitates continuation of this inhuman practice. Therefore, in its quest for equitable society, Janvikas comprehended that manual scavenging is primarily a socio-political issue, it denies life with dignity. It started addressing this issue in Ahmedabad city by supporting community based leadership called “ManavGarima” that has been promoted to take up developmental and rights based work of the scavenging community in the year 2003.

Janvikas also being a training and capacity building organization in social sector, interacted with hundreds of leaders from scavenging community who were supported by Dalit Foundation (a co-initiative of Janvikas) to liberate manual scavengers from this inhuman job. This prompted a realization that if leaders and Community Based Organisations (CBOs) in various geographies are provided with a little capacity building, handholding and financial support, they can be effective change agents at grass root level. Janvikas’ main role was to strengthen these CBOs, their leadership and develop their capacities to plan and implement programme strategies.

Collective efforts have ensured 18200 manual scavenging families either residing in 158 slums of 33 municipalities in urban areas or in 376 villages in 40 blocks of 21 districts in 5 states to be directly impacted. The work done can be articulated as follows:

Persons giving up manual scavenging work – 1857 Persons received / using safety equipment for cleaning – 9640 Training of manhole / sewage / drainage workers to use of technology –  71 Manhole workers who quit unsafe manhole cleaning work – 70
Youths enrolled in vocational courses – 1518 Youths taken alternate livelihood options – 4718 Health camps organised for the community – 134 Persons benefitting from health camps – 12945
Legal cases advice provided – 816 & Support for legal cases – 719 , Legal cases taken up -263 Legal cases supported in court – 166 Families covered under health insurance scheme of government – 5429 Community welfare scheme availed – 791 & Creation of community centre -11