Habitat Observatory

    100 per cent Sanitation Free Village in Madhya Pradesh

Tarawata village in Madhya Pradesh's Guna district stands apart from other villages - it's spick and span. This has been made possible through the Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) launched by the administration in 2006-07. Only six months back, just two houses in the village had toilets. Today, it boasts of having a 100 per cent sanitation graph. Not a single house of the village is without a toilet according to the statistics of TSC.

Graffiti propagating sanitary habits and cleanliness adorn village walls. The alleys passing through the nearly 200 'pucca' (concrete) houses are bereft of any litter. There are no flying plastic bags, no unwanted paper, no cow dung scattered on the streets that look immaculately clean. "Earlier, the nullahs (drains) would always be choked. However, after the district administration's efforts and the implementation of the project, the village has undergone a 'sanitation surgery.’

Initially, a lot of counselling had to be done to convince the villagers to discard the age-old tradition of taking small utensils and going out for defecation. Motivating them to change their mindset was an extremely arduous task, but each one started aping the other gradually. They now understand the importance of having a personal and exclusive toilet.

Even the children have learnt the importance of personal hygiene. They have a game "Play Pump" installed in their schools by which they lift water to the rooftop. This has helped them get enough water for drinking and cleaning in their school. This new technique has also helped them understand that electricity is not needed for lifting water - all through the "learn by play" technique.

No case of dysentery has been reported from the village in the past few months. Efforts of the Guna district team will indeed go a long way in bringing positive results for the children of the district and the state as the scheme is being replicated in other districts," said the Madhya Pradesh State UNICEF representative.

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    Empowering communities for envisioning a better quality of life

Water and Sanitation as an entry point to new settlements, is not only a vehicle to improved health, but also a way of transforming hierarchical caste and gender based exclusion into equitable inclusion. Women spend a better part of their day fetching water for household needs.  94% of rural villages in Orissa do not have access to safe and protected water sources and sanitation coverage is less than 1%.
The significance of community-based action is striking in providing water and sanitation to the villages. 211 successful cases have been registered in rural Orissa (2009), where the community with the help of NGOs has done wonders in getting good quality water and sanitation facilities to their respective villages. The NGOs working in this sector unites communities to overcome barriers of social exclusion. Right at the initiation of the programme a family wise plan is made to raise on average Rs.1,000 per family towards a village ‘corpus fund’, where the rich subsidise the poor, but even the poorest widow has to contribute Rs. 100.
The adult women and men in the village come together to form a general body.  In the initial stages there are separate general bodies for women and men, to allow women to develop confidence to articulate their needs and concerns.  The general body elects an executive committee, which has equal number of men and women and proportionate representation of different sections of the village.  This forms the base of the democratic governance system in the village.
The water and sanitation programme provides an opportunity for the community to manage resources. People make bricks, collect rubble for the foundation, sand and aggregates. Unskilled young boys and girls – whom the NGOs trains in masonry – construct toilets and bathing rooms. The communities bear about 60% of the capital costs of sanitation and 25% of the costs of establishing the piped water supply system. People contribute, not only by collecting locally available constructing materials, but also by supplying skilled and unskilled labour. Communities also make efforts to tap discretionary funds available with local elected representatives.
The programme has had a positive impact on the quality of life of all participating villages, through reduction of water-borne diseases and hence, a marked improvement in the health situation. Studies have shown an 85% reduction in the incidence of water-borne diseases in these villages. This first experience in managing their own village institution and financial resources builds the capacities of the community and instills in people, a high level of confidence, especially among the erstwhile excluded sections of the community.