How can advocates engage cities, states, and India’s federal government in action for city-wide inclusive sanitation?

India has big ambitions to solve a big problem: sanitation for the urban poor and safe sanitation for women and other marginalized sectors of society. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation works in India with many stakeholders — institutes, universities, cities, state and federal governments — to bring technical knowledge and the capacity to create changes in policy, practices, and social norms. In

In early 2019, the Foundation convened a group of these stakeholders in Delhi to build on work they had done prior; only this time, the goal was making realistic action plans and re-energizing the group for better collaboration in the future. I worked through DASRA, a Foundation partner for this event.


DASRA: For India to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, funders, nonprofits and the government must work together, share learnings and create joint solutions that work. To achieve this impact at scale, Dasra facilitates collaborations between funders, non-profits, corporations and the government. Visit DASRA.


  • Over 3 months, led DASRA’s team in organizing the two-day city-wide inclusive sanitation event, including event logistics, pre-meeting materials for attendees, defining the purpose and outcomes, and arranging visas
  • Designed the detailed meeting agenda, including timing and topic flow, so that action planning would naturally flow from preceding discussions
  • Created supporting materials such as slides and handouts
  • Facilitated both days of meetings, including discussion of technical issues, presentations with speaker Q&A, group exercises, icebreakers and games to enliven the group and underscore the theme of collaboration; with the DASRA team’s assistance, navigated a challenge in translating Indian dialects to English
  • Managed the DASRA team’s efforts while onsite, for a smooth meeting delivery
  • Prepared the final conference report, capturing all notes and plans, and illustrated with pictures


  • High marks from the DASRA and Foundation teams for a well-delivered event.
  • Action plans for sanitation in selected cities in India, with plans for support from the states in which they are locate as well as the federal government
  • Warmth and enthusiasm rekindled among advocates and stakeholders