“ALL OUR PROBLEMS ARE OVER…the toilets have brought in a new dawn to our villages, thanks to TV today Network and U-Respect Foundation” – Savitri Mhaskar, Lady sarpanch,
Dahigaon gram panchayat :
Toilets, a basic necessity of all humans and something that we take for granted as something that rural people only aspired to have. Initial focus group discussions with homogeneous groups of tribal people (men, women, adolescent boys and girls)
led us to understand the problems faced by the community in defecating in the open. These included lack of privacy, loss of dignity, fear of snakes and scorpions, etc. Girls especially mentioned the fear of being watched by men, and they felt insecure being in the open for such a private activity. For them, many times they would desist from going out at nights even though they needed to, as someone from the family would have to accompany them. This also entailed grave risks for their health conditions.
This project was envisaged as a life-changing solution to this tribal community living in the distant reaches of the district, by ensuring sanitation facility at a household level, thus giving them a life of dignity and well-being.
Overall reduction in waterborne disease.
To ensure improved health conditions in the hamlets which were in need of the toilet facilities and
A healthy and clean environment in the villages leading to increased quality of life.
• Getting people used to use toilets by a strong IEC/BCC/mobile use activities.
• Communities trained on toilet-maintenance and oriented to toilet use.
• Toilet construction using locally available material (prefab/bricks) with multiple optimizations
• Construction of area-specific toilets using readily available materials like clay bricks.
• Ensure acceptance and consistent use of the sanitation facility by each and every individual of the community.
• Discussion with the government water and sanitation department to understand which villages were most vulnerable and in need of urgent sanitation.
• Carrying out a baseline survey to access current KAPP of sanitation habits in the community
• Community meeting with all members of the identified communities and intense communication campaign to advocate the need for using toilets and its linkage to health and well-being.
• Supporting a sanitation program with strong IPC/ Behavioral Change Communication (BCC) component (A structured IPC campaign will explain the necessity of toilets and concomitant advantages to target people)
• Construction of individual toilets in the space provided by each household
• Sixteen remote tribal villages covering over 500 household toilets – a major life-changing experience.
• Waterborne diseases assessed at baseline (at 18%) reduced to 4% on 3-month consistent toilet use by ALL members of the community
SOME VOICES OF THE COMMUNITY WOMEN
1. Savita Vishnu Mhaskar
I am from Varatepada, Dahigaon gram panchayat. We are a family of four. Till now we never knew what it is to not have a ‘souchalaya’. It had become our way of life going out in the open to defecate. We had to walk a minimum of one and a half kilometers into the jungle. We could not go out by ourselves, we always had to be accompanied by a male. We never ever imagined we would have our own toilets.
Again young girls would feel very ashamed of going out especially during their monthly periods. Our greatest fear would be to go out at night especially when we had diarrhea. We would have to disturb our menfolk to accompany us. This had its own set of problems. Now (with a smile on her face) all that is come to an end.
Thank you U-Respect for giving us this facility. Now we have our own individual toilets.
2. Kavita Bharat Lakshman Pange
I stay with my family of five at Shisavlipada. My toilet number is 16. Our village is so remote that we were left out of the government’s Swacha Bharat Abhiyan survey. We were told that we were not eligible for any benefits of the government schemes. When the U-Respect foundation came to us with this proposal of building individual household toilets for us, we were so excited that we agreed to help them in all respects. On the same day, we agreed to fill up the forms and were also ready to give ‘shram daan’. There is no shame in working towards building your own toilet.
Now that we have our own toilet, we need not feel ashamed of going out in the open. Our biggest fear was snakes and wild pigs. We do not have any medical facility nearby so any person bitten by snakes or wild animals would have to be rushed to the Primary Health Centre which takes time. Because of not getting timely help, many members of the community have lost their lives.
Now we have our own toilet. This is our toilet so we will always keep it clean.