In Chhattisgarh, as per Census 2011, nearly 85 per cent of people in the rural areas practised open defecation. The baseline survey in 2012-13 data underlined that 10,32,000 toilets in the State were defunct and nearly half of the toilets constructed under the earlier sanitation programme were dysfunctional. As a result of various initiatives, 1123 villages in the State have become ODF including one complete block from Rajnandgaon district. As many as 1.60 lakh toilets were built in the first 9 months.
In the given circumstances, it was essential to apply a model of behaviour change communication approach for sanitation in the State. Chhattisgarh has adopted a policy of Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) to achieve freedom from open defecation. It is concentrating on achieving ODF villages, and therefore provided flexibility to districts to provide incentive to the community as a whole, after the village becomes ODF through community approach.
CLTS approach was initially adopted in two districts – Rajnandgaon and Raigarh, with handholding support to the district teams through a trained organization. Based on the success, the State adopted CLTS model for sustainable behavior change as a State policy.
The CLTS approach ensures the participation of the village community by creating awareness of the health benefits of building toilets, instilling a stigma for the practice of open defecation, and ensuring capacity building of key administrative functionaries at the grass root level to implement this goal.
The administration defined its role to be that of a facilitator, to providing trainings and a platform to encourage people who brought about positive change. The following major initiatives were undertaken in the State for sanitation:
- Village was chosen as a unit instead of a gram panchayat (GP) for implementation as well as for monitoring.
- Social mobilization activities/triggering activities were organized at village level and no advance fund was given to beneficiaries or the Village Water Supply and Sanitation Committee (VWSC).
- Three models of incentivizing community/individual were adopted in the State. Incentive could either be given to the whole community after achieving ODF status and sustaining it up to 03 months or to a family if they constructed and subsequently used toilets for 3 months. A 50 per cent upfront incentive could be given if a household was from a deprived community.
- Rather than talking about financial incentive for toilet construction, attempt was made to make the community understand the risk of open defecation and its adverse impact on health.
- Navratnas (9 Gems – reputed people) were selected at State, District, Block and GP level to lead the process as community leaders.
- Monitoring committee (Nigrani Samiti) was formed comprising natural leaders/proactive people of the village. Children were also involved effectively in the monitoring of ODF status.
- Conjoint programmes for water and sanitation were encouraged.
- Access to toilet was made obligatory for all elected representatives and government functionaries like anganwadi workers, health workers, GP secretary, teachers etc.
- “Sanitation Pledge” was incorporated in the oath of newly elected leaders.
- Other development schemes were prioritized in the ODF villages.
- Capacity building of all key stakeholders on implementation of CLTS approach was undertaken.
- Flexibility was given for choosing the technology of toilet as per beneficiary willingness and geographical conditions of the village.
- Linkages with private sanitary ware entrepreneurs were facilitated to ensure supply chain.
As far as monitoring was concerned, quality was ensured by engineers while toilet usage and sustainability monitoring was done through a third party mechanism of RALU (Rapid Action Learning Units). RALU also undertook impact monitoring through a health outcome based study. Community based monitoring was also developed to ensure ODF status.