Habitat Observatory

    Innovation and Livelihood

Sandya, today, is a proud homemaker. Belonging to a small village in Uttar Pradesh, she has brought her husband back from the brink of self-destruction, started supporting her family financially and ensured that her children get proper education. In this transformation, Sandya has only one companion to thank - the Krishak Bandhu (KB) Treadle Pump. KB Treadle Pump is a foot operated water lifting device that can irrigate small plots of land of small holders in regions that have higher water table (not deeper than 25 feet). A low cost system, simple in design and easily manageable for the small farmers.

As earlier due to lack of water, she was not able to cultivate her farmland but now her fields are blossoming with healthy crops. She has paid all her debts and making a profit of Rs. 15,750/- (USD 350) every year. All this is possible because of this innovative technology.

Today, her children have plenty to eat and go to school. Her husband is now an active participant at the farm.

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    Village Water and Sanitation Committee (VWCC) of Asiragre Village Leads Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS)

Asirgre, East Garo Hills District, Meghalaya was the first village in India or perhaps in the developing countries to achieve 100 per cent sanitation following the Community Lead Total Sanitation approach.  The village has 100 per cent Individual Household Latrines (IHHLs).  Every villager knows and understands not just the importance of toilets but also the concept of a safe toilet.  Since the people themselves built the toilets, there is no doubt about the continuous usage and sustainability of the results achieved.

Before the intervention of Drinking Water and Sanitation Committee (DWSC), Ministry of Rural Development, Govt. of India only six households had safe toilets; 42 had unsafe toilets; and members of three households were defecating in the open.  The challenge for the facilitator team of DWSC was to make the community understand that their existing toilets did not provide for the safe disposal of excreta and that they were as good as non-existent.

The community was mobilised using innovative triggering/training tools developed by the facilitators to use toilets.  Once the community realised the importance of the situation, a Village Water and Sanitation Committee (VWSC) was formed. The DWSC released the money under their Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) to all the below poverty line (BPL) households. The money sanctioned by the DWSC for BPL households used as a village sanitation fund and to procure materials for all households which needed safe toilets. The entire community contributed their labour; two youth who were trained as master masons ensured that all households constructed safe toilets.

The president of the Asiragre VWSC, is spreading the CLTS story and safe sanitation practices to other villages of the district.

The above story was taken: From Dreams to Reality, Compendium of Best Practices in Rural Sanitation in India by Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation

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