Modelled on the historic Dandi March, a three-day march was organised in Dharwad to build awareness on toilet usage.
An act of non-violent civil disobedience in colonial rule, Dandi March, also called Salt March, was led by Mahatma Gandhi. Ms Snehal R., Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Dharwad Zilla Panchayat (ZP), led a walk to educate the people on the ill-effects of open defecation.
Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) was launched on 2nd October 2014 to perpetuate the wave of cleanliness and hygiene in the whole country.
Swachh Siddi Yatra
On 31st August 2017, the Swachh Bharat team, led by Ms. Snehal R., began the march from Khannur village of Navalgund Taluka in Dharwad district.
Around 60 people walked across 9 villages covering a stretch of 20 kilometres spreading awareness to over 35,000 people. They tried to influence behavioural change with respect to open defecation and motivate people to construct and use toilets.
They would walk from early morning to late evening. The march was interspersed with the participation of political leaders and religious seers which made their initiative even more effective.
Namma Sauchalaya Namma Swabhimana
Namma Sauchalaya Namma Swabhimana literally means – our toilet is our pride and self-respect. Use of toilets not just promotes hygiene, but it also protects self-respect and dignity. The Swachh Bharat team tried to sensitise people on the menace of open defecation.
Menace Of Open Defecation
Open defecation leads to the spread of various diseases in the community and affects the health of individuals and families. The water around gets contaminated due to improper human waste disposal, leading to infections, and water-borne diseases such as diarrhoea, typhoid, cholera, and others.
The children and women expose themselves to various risks when they go out in the open to answer the call of nature.
No Stones Left Unturned
The approach of Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) was used to increase the demand for toilets. In this approach the knowledge and opinions of rural people were included in the planning and management of development programmes:
Some of the strategies to spread awareness, and to influence action were:
- Plantation of the tree saplings alongside roads as well as in school premises
- Door-to-door visits to bring about a behavioural change in people
- Appreciation gifts given to the families that constructed toilets
- Mock parliament and speech competitions held in schools
Yeredakk Hogad Yalli
A street play, ‘Yeredakk hogad yalli‘, was enacted by the Harlapura artists to educate the villagers on the need to keep the surroundings clean, and to use toilets.
To enhance engagement with the people, several events were held to complement the Swachh Bharat yatra. Poushtik Aahaar Shibir or the nutritious food camp, health camps, and baby showers were organised for women, school children, and the senior citizens. 60 pregnant women who successfully convinced their families to construct toilets were also acknowledged in a community baby shower.
Swachh Siddi Yatra helped to convince people to show disobedience to their age-old habit of open defecation. It educated the people on the need to build and use toilets.