Koraput district of Odisha is steadily tackling the problem of open defecation.
For the year 2016-2017, the district has been assigned the task to construct 81,929 toilets.
In a district with a huge tribal population, achieving Open defecation-free (ODF) status is a difficult task. Even so, the villagers are crossing every hurdle and stories of their success are pouring in.
Sarpanch Chandramani Jani – Bada Karenga GP
Sarpanch Chandramani Jani has been using a toilet pan for almost ten years. But she was the only one in the village. Instead of following her example, fellow residents of Chakarliguda blamed her for bringing disease into their homes.
Nevertheless, this never deterred Chandramani Jani. She continued spreading awareness on a personal level until the Swachh Bharat Mission began in her village. She jumped at the opportunity and worked with full dedication towards making her village open defecation-free.
After becoming the Sarpanch of her Gram Panchayat (GP), she hugely improved the sanitary situation. From convincing the Block Development Officer to motivating women towards a safe and dignified life. She even opposed her own father’s backward beliefs and took every necessary step.
Thanks to her efforts, more than 50% villages in her GP have individual household latrines while four other villages are already open defecation-free. She truly is a role model.
Pramila Sagaria – Bagderi GP
Being a woman and belonging to a Scheduled Caste, the path was never easy for Pramila Sagaria. But without making her social status an excuse, she went ahead and trained herself in Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) from District Water and Sanitation Mission (DWSM) Koraput.
In a village where the status of women in very low and they are considered to be born for household work only, Pramila brought about change. She visited other women in the village and talked about the importance of sanitation and its effects on health.
Her efforts have helped women become a voice in the decision-making apparatus. Due to this, her block has reached an ODF status. Pramila is a Sanitation Ambassador and an inspiration for not only her village but other villages too.
Smruti Manjuri Adhikari – Ghumar GP
Smruti Manjuri Adhikari has always been an active member of her village. Even before she joined the Swachh Bharat Mission, she often got involved in village cleaning and raised her voice against child marriage.
With the Swachh Bharat campaign, she worked as a community resource person to strengthen women’s SHGs (Self Help Groups). She also improved their livelihood through income-generating programmes.
After attending the CLTS training in Koraput, she became a community organiser (OLM) and a sanitation motivator (DWSM). Under this role, she carried out door-to-door visits and regular discussions at SHG meetings to bring awareness about the importance of being ODF.
As a result of her efforts, her GP, Ghumar in Kotpad Block of Koraput district is ODF.
These three women from Koraput have shown extraordinary grit and determination, improved the lives of many and are still working tirelessly towards the cause.
Source: SBM Gramin