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Sustainable Sanitation

© UNICEF/ 2008
Women in Pardi happy to take lead in sanitation drive

Vidya Kulkarni

Pardi Village, Yavatmal, Maharashtra: A neatly framed citation hanging on Gram Panchayat walls in Pardi village announces village receiving ‘Nirmal Gram Puraskar’ on attaining full sanitation coverage in households, schools and Aanganwadi centers and for outstanding contribution in promotion of Rural Sanitation.’

This tiny village, in Kalamb block in Yeotmal district with 508 populations, received the honor in May 2007. Now even one year after this special felicitation, the village has still maintained the hygienic status in all possible spheres.

According to Ramesh Jarunde, Village Secretary and Sanjay Harkare, both motivators of the sanitation drive, sustainability of good sanitation practices can only be ensured if the process is participatory and inclusive.

“We view Total Sanitation Campaign as a joint venture of district administration and communities. Success depends on working closely with people to win their trust. Once people are convinced they are willing to contribute in whatever ways required” said the Secretary.

Both the government representatives agree that the Village Micro Planning process is a helpful way to bring about robust involvement of communities, an essential component for any government programme to be effective.  

In Pardi too, the sanitation campaign engaged everyone. 62 out of the total 104 families in the village are below the poverty line (BPL).

It is not easy for poor wage earning families to spare money and human labor required to build their individual toilets when it can be had for free in the fields.

While the BPL families are entitled to get an incentive upto Rs. 1200/- (US$ 30) for toilet construction, they get this amount only after they have built the structure.

© UNICEF/ 2008
All households in Pardi have inculcated hygienic practices

Pardi villagers thought out this problem together and came up with idea of weekly savings. A youth volunteer was entrusted with the responsibility of money collection. Each family saved Rs. 20 per week and deposited it regularly with the volunteer.

With this amount, construction material was procured collectively, which helped to get concessions in rates and also saved travel costs.

That the sanitation drive did not remain an instantaneous hype is clearly seen across the village. Women and youth have remained key players in the whole process and proudly share their achievement.

“Our village is not only clean but more peaceful than earlier,” so feel the women. Specially designed toilets are made in Anganwadi centers and schools for children, who have inculcated habits of toilet usage and hand washing.

Sadhna Dube, District Coordinator, shared the experience of Kalamb block, ”micro planning process facilitates participation of all marginalized groups including women in decision making as well as in leadership. Very often Micro planning leads to increased demand from these people to take up their concerns, be it in areas of sanitation or water or other social issues.”

Certainly there are going to be many more success stories on the lines of Pardi in Kalamb block, which has already taken a lead in the district with more number of villages becoming open defecation free.

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