Banka BioLoo Complementing Havells’s Nutrition Program with Sanitation

Member in focus - Sanjay Banka

Sanjay Banka

Banka BioLoo, Hyderabad, Telangana, India

Havells, Alwar, Rajasthan, India




2015 to 2018


Havells, India’s largest electrical products manufacturer, has manufacturing facilities in several parts of India, the largest among them being in Alwar, Rajasthan. As a part of CSR initiative, the company has been providing mid-day meals (nutrition) in over 650 schools since 2005. Understanding a very strong nexus between nutrition and WaSH, and the need for effective sanitation in these schools, Havells embarked on a sanitation program in these schools. Banka BioLoo, a pioneer in sustainable sanitation, partnered Havells in providing bioloos with onsite waste treatment facility. The partnership has already installed bioloos in over 350 schools with healthy outcomes.


India has had one of the poorest sanitation records, with half of the population defecating in the open until the advent of the Clean India Mission in October 2014. Same was the status in institutions such as schools and primary healthcare centers; most of which didn’t have toilets. The government, with its limited resources and varying priorities, was not able to provide basic infrastructure such as water and sanitation in many of these schools. Needless to say, lack of WaSH in schools was leading to absenteeism, dropouts – mostly among girl students, apart from spread of water-borne diseases.

With the onset of Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan (Clean India Mission), some large companies focused their CSR budgets to school sanitation within the sub-program Swachh Bharat - Swachh Vidyalaya (Clean India – Clean Schools). Havells was one of the foremost among these. Havells had already had prior experience of school service through the meal program. It wasn’t difficult for the company to integrate sanitation along with. Then came the choice of an ideal partner, fulfilled by Banka BioLoo, a social enterprise with a mission to reduce open defecation and spread sustainable sanitation. Banka BioLoo provides environmentally-friendly and sustainable solutions for sanitation in rural, urban and peri-urban areas. The bioloos treat human waste onsite using bacterial culture in a bio-digester tank, which eliminates the need for excreta disposal, transport and treatment. The system obviates the need for external sewage infrastructure. The bioloo was seen as a perfect solution for these schools in rural and remote areas where no sewage system exists.

Officers from Havells and Banka BioLoo chalked out a strategy and decided to provide bioloos in schools in batches. A set of 50 schools per quarter was set as an ideal. Every school would have 8 bioloos (4 for girls and 4 for boys). Banka BioLoo team began implementing – with active involvement of school staff, senior students, 2 officers from Havells. Since this was supposed to be a long-term project, Banka BioLoo set-up a manufacturing unit for bioloos in Alwar. The bioloo comprises the toilet super-structure or the shelter, a bio-tank and bacterial culture or the inoculum in the bio-tank. The easy-to-install bioloos (set of 8) in each school are completed in a week, and the students and staff can start using immediately.

The project began in the last quarter of 2015, and 100 schools were completed in the fiscal year 2015-16. In India the fiscal year runs April through March. In 2016-17, 150 schools were provided bioloos (a break was taken during the long summer holidays). In 2017-18, 100 schools were provided bioloos. To supplement the infrastructure created, awareness was to be spread around water, sanitation and hygiene, general cleanliness, and understanding of the functioning of bioloos. Havells tied-up with McGraw-Hill Education and published a booklet that was distributed among students.

Today, the other schools are eagerly awaiting their turn of having bioloos in their campuses. The bioloos are economically viable and affordable, environmentslly-friendly, require no operations and maintenance effort or cost, and above all – give out water that can be used for gardening, or be left to seep in the ground (re-charging the ground water). Banka BioLoo and Havells are working on an assessment study, with the help of organization(s) expert in this area. General outcome, as elaborated by school staff, has been very positive – with higher attendance, fewer dropouts and happy faces in the classrooms.

Banka BioLoo has been implementing school sanitation projects with other large companies in other states of India, with similar outcomes. The bioloo is a sustainable sanitation solution, with sustainable outcomes for the user – one does not need to bother about waste transportation and treatment and likewise no operations and maintenance hassle. This has been a very strong factor in adoption as well as acceptability by one and all of the bioloo. The user is happy, along with the funder.

Intense involvement of all stakeholders: Havells officers, Banka BioLoo management and field officers, school staff and senior students in the planning and implementation stages was a key success factor. It ensured that the bioloos that were being installed were meeting the needs of the students, had adequate water facility and a wash basin to wash hands. The added advantage was that the message of WaSH was taken to the homes and the communities by these students, resulting in a multiplier effect.