The idea of the Financial Inclusion Improves Sanitation and Health (FINISH) project was conceptualized by WASTE in collaboration with ACTIAM, UNU-MERIT, TATA-AIG and a leading microfinance company in Orissa. The vision was based on earlier WASTE experiences in which local financial institutions participated in guaranteeing small loans. Together in 2009, the concept partners identified a joint approach to increase the sanitation coverage in India by using microfinance and insurance products.
The FINISH approach utilizes WASTE’s signature Diamond Model which has had multiplying impact not only for its programme beneficiaries, but across the WASH and waste management development sector as a whole. The approach leverages increased demand for sanitation and health by improving health in whole villages, based on a strategy to help all potential insurance clients (all members of the community at hand) acquire and use improved, safely managed sanitation systems. Health insurance premiums are lower when there is total village sanitation, because improvement of overall sanitation conditions means less polluted water, improved hygiene and controlled waste containment/collection/transport/treatment and reuse.
Subsequently, FINISH Society was registered in 2010 as a multi-state not-for-profit organization under Societies Registration Act 1860 to help implement the project locally and to strengthen the initiative linking it to better hygiene, environment, enterprise development and waste management. Today, FINISH Society is furthering the extension of sanitation coverage and expanding to address the varying local needs linked to a circular economy model such as water scarcity and food security and has been recognized recently by the Dutch and Indian governments for their quick-acting COVID-19 response programmes which have supported especially vulnerable communities and displaced migrant workers.
This week, FINISH Society celebrated its 10 year anniversary with a placeholder virtual celebration which brought together key stakeholders and champions from across the world and across the last 10 years to share experience and well-wishes for another 10 more successful years.
The 10th anniversary virtual celebration was shared with the Lucknow community this morning (where FINISH Society is headquartered), picked up with a column in India’s leading English daily newspaper, The Times of India. The column (see below) introduces the community to FINISH Society’s “pathbreaking decade” of service and future ambitions strengthening the circular economy of sanitation. The success of FINISH Society in India has largely been the springboard for WASTE’s expanded 6-country partnership, FINISH Mondial where it has become a key knowledge and innovation hub.