31st July, 2017 has been set as the deadline for Hamirpur to become Open Defecation-Free (ODF).
The countdown has started in this district of Uttar Pradesh and everyone is ready complete the mission.
District Magistrate, Dr. Mannan Akhtar says, “The task at hand is to convert Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) into a movement for the people. For this, not just villagers but everyone involved with the Swachh Bharat Mission Team should have a sense of ownership to achieve the goals.”
Out of the 339 Gram Panchayats (GP), 17 of them are awaiting ODF verification. 1, 70,633 toilets are to be built to make Hamirpur ODF. As on 1st July 2017, Hamirpur (Uttar Pradesh) is ranked 411th position in Individual Household Latrine (IHHL) coverage in the country with 65.57% of households having toilets.
Adopting A Two-pronged Approach
The district team is following a two-pronged approach. Firstly, they aim to increase the number of toilets constructed. Simultaneously, the team is working to bring about behavioural change. Bringing about this transformation is a major challenge as the villagers have become accustomed to defecating in the open. They consider it healthy to walk to an open area and defecate. The belief that building a toilet within home premises is unhealthy has been integrated into their mindset. The team aims to change this thinking.
Integrating The CLTS Technique
The district team decided to assign one official to each village of Hamirpur district to accelerate the Swachh Bharat Mission and monitor the activities. The official could be the Secretary, a Swachhagrahi, an ODF champion, a block motivator or a coordinator. The team has adopted the Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) approach to build toilets and educate the community about the need for hygiene and cleanliness.
CLTS is an innovative methodology for mobilising communities towards the total elimination of open defecation. The leaders, supervisors and educators are chosen from the community itself. It helps to build a sense of ownership towards the campaign and is an effective motivational tool.
The Tried And Tested Approach
The CLTS approach was carried in 273 villages. Under this campaign, people were made aware of the ill effects of open defecation which motivated the people to build household toilets. In each of these villages, officials were assigned for 15 days, from 19th June 2017 onwards, to complete toilet coverage. Of the many measures taken, Nigrani Samitis or monitoring teams were created to supervise the toilet construction.
A Bright Future For Hamirpur
The officials assigned to Hamirpur are experienced at getting the tasks done. To accomplish the ODF mission, around 4900 trained masons are required. The officials are leaving no stone unturned in managing human and material resources to meet the deadline.
By using the CLTS method, thousands of villages across India have earned the ODF status. Hamirpur too is racing to touch the finishing line and become a notable contributor to the Swachh Bharat Mission.