Skip to main content

#CloseOpen Defecation

#CloseOpen Defecation

About this initiative

The problem of open defecation persists in large parts of rural India where age-old traditions and lack of resources lead to millions still resorting to fields and railway tracks to answer nature’s call. Globally exposed, cosmopolitan India, though socially aware and vocal about social causes, remains largely alien to this deplorable reality with little or no awareness around it. To respond to this issue, We Are Water Foundation India, the CSR wing of Roca Bathrooms Pvt. Ltd. worked with Dentsu Impact to shed light on the plight of millions in India on World Toilet Day, 2018 and appeal to the conscience of savvy urban metro dwellers in India.

Dentsu Impact’s strategy was not spread awareness about this issue among cosmopolitan urbanites, but to use their influencing power on social media to create conversation around this largely unaddressed topic.


The strategic thought behind this campaign was to bring home this jarring reality to those who were far removed from it, in a way that was both compelling and provocative. To incite action in any form, it was important for people to not just see or hear about the situation but to truly 'experience' it.


On 19th November, World Toilet Day, We Are Water Foundation, conducted a social experiment in Gurugram, Haryana. A special toilet like any other public toilet was built, but people were in for a surprise once they entered it. They found a railway track with no partition for men and women for a water closet. It showcased the jarring reality of millions who choose railway tracks and open fields as defecation sites every day. A series of placards and posters were put up to bring to fore how lack of toilets is affecting millions. Spectators were encouraged to share their views and voice their opinions. A tab was installed at the location so that people can support the movement by signing up on WeAreWater.Org.

The social experiment moved the people, broke the internet and took over headlines of esteemed columns generating more than 19K tweets in just five hours making it one of the top three trending topics on Twitter and garnering 9.14 million impressions and 2.56 million views in seven weeks on Facebook and YouTube combined. The campaign successfully collected 500 sign-ups in five weeks. WAWF has contributed 15,00,000 INR for the cause so far.