Ever since the rebranding and relaunch of the Indian government’s flagship sanitation campaign, the Swachh Bharat Mission, the country’s sanitation sector has been galvanised to debate and take action with a sense of urgency.
The goal is ambitious: make India open defecation-free by 2 October 2019 – the 150th anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi.
CLTS Interactive Sessions
One of the most commonly used approaches for triggering this change is Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS). This involves bringing together the residents of a community and, through an experienced field facilitator and interactive sessions, explain the health and economic consequences of defecating in the open.
When this is done through continuous engagement, CLTS usually prompts the whole community to decide collectively to stop open defecation and to build and use toilets. This approach is sustainable and long-lasting as the community takes ownership of the issue and works together to make the change.
In practice, however, this is never so easy. There are always people who refuse to believe in the benefits of using a toilet. Many prefer to go out in the open as their ancestors have done for centuries – a habit extremely difficult to break.
This year, on the occasion of our 7 decades of Independence, Gram Sabha meetings were held in 425 village panchayats of Rajavallipuram during the celebrations.
Results To Be Seen In 90 Days!
Addressing the gram sabha meeting on Tuesday, Collector Sandeep Nanduri said that the district administration was taking sincere efforts to achieve the ‘open defecation-free district’ status in the next 90 days by encouraging the residents to construct toilets in every house.
The Gram Sabha meetings discussed in detail a range of issues including averting dengue outbreak and open defecation. The Indian government has offered to extend financial assistance to construct individual household toilets and the meeting urged the people to make complete use of this facility.
“Besides constructing toilets in every house, the residents should cooperate with the local bodies in segregating the degradable and non-degradable garbage at source to make clean and green villages, which would get Rs. 20 lakhs from the government. This whopping sum can be used for developing infrastructure facilities in the model hamlets,” Mr. Sandeep noted.
Wide Participation Seen
Assistant Collector (Training) Ilam Bhagavath; Revenue Divisional Officer, Tirunelveli; Maithili, Project Director; District Rural Development Agency, A. Palani, District Supplies Officer, Punniyakotti; Project Director, Mahalir Thittam, Getzy Leema and senior officials participated in the gram sabha meeting at Rajavallipuram.
Rajavallipuram is on its course to becoming fully Swachh, hopefully inspiring many other districts to do so too.