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  • hailey cooperrider
    Hosted by Hailey Cooperrider
    Collaboration and Strategy Lead at Collabforge


FINISH Sanitation Challenge Contest

This case study from provides a detailed explanation about how an international open innovation challenge related to sanitation in rural India was run, and how collaboration was used to help set the challenge on the right course.

In this article by Madhu Mani & Jayesh Badani, you will learn how a consortium of NGOs, Academia and Financial institutions from India, Netherlands and France came together to tap into the power of collaborative innovation.

There has been progress, right from the Central Rural Sanitation Programme, which was initiated in 1988 by the Government of India, to the Total Sanitation Campaign launched in the year 1999.  But the adoption rates have still not been up to the expected levels.  Even as the sanitation coverage is improving steadily in India, researchers attached to the FINISH programme, an Indian-Dutch consortium to diffuse 1 million safe toilets in India – noted that all private and public sanitation drives suffer from some common problems.


  1. The quality of constructed toilets is very poor due to budgetary or time constraints and lack of proper control and enforcement.
  2. Lack of clearly defined “standards” for toilet design leading to toilets that end up polluting the environment.
  3. Lack of knowledge of sustainable sanitation models and awareness.
  4. Lack of research into various toilet designs that are most suited for the different ecological terrains in India.


The FINISH ‘Sanitation Challenge Contest’ was a serious attempt to find solutions to these problems. FINISH, which stands for Financial INclusion Improves Sanitation and Health, with other network partners – WASTE, World Toilet Organisation, Ethos India and FIN Society launched an innovation competition to design a innovative sanitation system. The contest was open to all individuals and institutions. Its objective was to arrive at significant, even revolutionary improvements in toilet design and safe disposal system, specifically suited to different climatic, soil, water table conditions, which will ensure sustainable and safe management of the human waste.

Read the full article on