Coming up short without sanitation: a community sanitation program by the Indian Government helped children grow taller and healthier in the state of Maharashtra

Most people living in rural Indian villages defecate openly outside, without using a toilet or latrine. In 2004, as a supplement to its ongoing Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC), the government of Maharashtra conducted a randomized, controlled experiment to study the effect of a sanitation intervention. In Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra, 30 villages were randomly assigned to a community-level sanitation motivation treatment group and 30 villages to a control group. Eighteen months later, surveyors measured how much the average height of children in the treatment and control groups had changed.