Students are our real champions: Sarveshwar Bhure

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Swachh Bharat Mission Gramin (SBM-G) is about behaviour change, not construction of toilets.  If there is behaviour change, construction will follow automatically, said CEO, Zilla Panchayat of Kabirdham District in Chhattisgarh, Sarveshwar Bhure.

Having worked with the mission for about two years so far, Bhure and his team have strived to take forward the mission through social mobilization and collective effort.  In this regard, they have identified with the community, engaging with them as much as possible before conducting door to door surveys.

Currently, they have a volunteer based of over 200 enthusiastic individuals who assist them.  Further, they have involved all segments of people from the society – religious leaders, caste leaders, and other interest groups and sought their support in talking about Swachhta and sanitation issues to the community at large.

“This has certainly helped and the results are amazing,” Bhureconfirmed during the Collectors’ conference held recently at the national capital that saw the presence of SBM ambassador, the cricketing legend, Sachin Tendulkar.

However, he pointed out that students have been the real champions.On July-15, as many as 1.38 lakh students from 1738 schools in the district participated in a letter writing exercise in which they appealed to their parents to build a toilet at their home. It was a humble attempt to protect dignity and pride of vulnerable girls.

The results were far greater than anticipated with 48,000 families committing to build toilets.  Further, during a 3 month period 96 panchayats from one block were made open defecation free. Bhure also informed that sanitation coverage in the district has increased by 25 per cent.

As far as festivals are concerned, the SBM leaders have linked every celebratory occasion with Swachhta – be it Holi, Rakhi or Diwali, in an effort to take forward the sanitation message.  The administration has also actively engaged self-help groups who help with awareness building, motivation and on occasions even masonry work.

“We have more than 100 women who are skilled in construction of toilets,” Bhuresaid.  At the rate at which activities are being carried out, Kabhirdam is set to be made open defecation free by December 2016.  “Work is in progress in every village; so most things are in place,” he added.

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