FINISH, a program developed by an Indian-Dutch consortium of banks, insurance companies, and NGOs, has launched a contest for innovative sanitation systems for rural India. FINISH hopes to encourage the development of high-quality toilets that do not harm the environment. Results from the competition are expected to be announced in March, when winners could be awarded up to €10,000.

A search for a rural toilet design begins on 19th Nov – the World Toilet Day

FINISH is launching an “innovation contest” to create new and improved sanitation systems for rural India, with rewards up to Rs. 620,000 (or 10,000 Euros) up for grabs. The contest is being launched on World Toilet Day – 19th Nov 2010. FINISH will incorporate the best innovations generated by the contest in thousands of toilets being installed in rural India under its programme.

It is often said that Safe Sanitation Systems form the last chapter of human development. 1 in every 4 person in the world does not have access to Sanitation. India is a prime illustration. Indian Space scientists have put machines on the moon, yet 1 in every 2 Indians does not
have access to toilets. Everyday 638 million people or about 50% of the population in India resort to open defecation. There has been progress, 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. However, according to the 2010 report by UNICEF, on progress in sanitation coverage, even in 2008, 69% of rural Indian population did not have access to toilets.

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.
  2. Toilet designs are often not appropriate for the targeted ecological terrain.
  3. A lack of clearly defined “standards” for toilet design are leading to toilets that pollute the environment.
  4. Stakeholders do not have adequate awareness and knowledge of sustainable sanitation models.

The FINISH ‘Sanitation Challenge Contest’ is a serious attempt to find solutions to some of above problems. FINISH, which stands for Financial INclusion Improves Sanitation and Health, with the help of – a collaborative innovation platform provider and other network partners – WASTE, FIN Trust, Ethos India and the World Toilet Organisation have launched an innovation competition to generate
new designs in sanitation systems.

The contest is open to all individuals and institutions. Its objective is 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. This new toilet design will be used to diffuse 1 million safe toilets in India.

A total reward of Rs. 620,000 (or € 10,000 (Euros) is being offered by FINISH organization. This will be distributed as € 6000 (Euros) for an entirely new system and 4 rewards of € 1000 (Euros) each for ‘component’ innovations.

The calendar for the contest is as follows:

  • Launch of contest – Nov 19, 2011 to commemorate ‘World Toilet Day’.
  • Last day of submission of entries – March 1, 2011
  • Announcement of Results – March 15, 2011
  • Award Ceremony – March 22, 2011 to commemorate ‘World Water Day’ in

New Delhi

Below quotes are captured from people in villages, while conducting a research around the challenges of sanitation in rural India.

“The toilet was abandoned because during the rainy season the toilet got clogged.”
(This tells us that local conditions should be taken into consideration)

“The 3rd toilet was constructed by the NGO even though 2 unused toilets already stand in the same house.”
(This tells us that just building toilets won’t solve the issue)

For more details please visit

The organizing committee of the FINISH Challenge Contest consists of the followingmembers:

  • Mr. Sadanand Bhave (Director, FINISH) and Mr. Mukul Singhal (Finance officer, FINISH)
  • Mr. Valentin Post (Controller/ Senior adviser, WASTE)
  • Ms. (Dr.) Shyama V. Ramani (Founder-Director FIN & Professor UNU and Maastricht Univ)
  • Ms. Gita Balakrishnan (Founder-Director, Ethos)
  • Mr. Madhu Mani (Co-founder and Director, Innovator Engagements, ideaken)


The programme FINISH is being implemented since 2009 by an Indian-Dutch consortium comprising banks, insurance companies and NGOs from the two countries. Its objective is to diffuse 1 million sanitation systems (i.e. toilets) to low income communities in rural India through mobilizing funds from end-user households.

To know more about FINISH, please visit
For know more about the FINISH SANITATION CHALLENGE, please visit