In Andhra Pradesh’s Guntur District that is located on the banks of River Krishna, women sarpanchs have made sanitation a priority as they motivate families to build and use toilets. In addition, they have given considerable focus to personal hygiene and cleaning of common areas such as roads and drains in an effort to ensure community health and wellbeing. The administration is working towards making the district that houses the new capital of Andhra Pradesh open defecation free (ODF) by December 2017.
Here is a description of their initiatives:
- Gudise Nirmala Devi
When Smt. Gudise Nirmala Devi was elected as sarpanch of Amaravathi, the historical and mythological village which is home to the Amararama Pancharama Kshetra site and the Sri Amaralingeswara Swamy temple that makes it a holy town for the Hindus, she made sanitation a priority. In the village with a population of 13,400 and 3296 households, she identified 756 households without toilets. She mobilized the support of ward members and other grass root level workers and motivated people to construct and use toilets. Sanitation facilities were also provided to schools, anganwadis and government buildings. Once every home had a toilet, she took up cleaning of drains and advocated the need for personal hygiene.
- Devarakonda Sridevi
Being a woman did not stop the Sarpanch of Cherukupalli, Smt. Devarakonda Sridevi to take up the challenge of bringing ODF status to their village and providing the necessary coordination. With support from ward members, she prepared an action plan and utilized the services of anganwadi workers, ANMs and school teachers to carry the message of ODF to the community. Further, sanitation facilities were provided in schools, anganwadis, government buildings and all 2752 households irrespective of caste and community. To address the issue of scattered animal dung left on the village streets by grazing animals in the early morning, she formed a village monitoring committee and allotted cleaning duties to panchayat workers. Further, IEC material in the form of posters, hoardings and message boards were affixed at strategic places across the village to motivate people and bring about behaviour change. “The dream of Swachh Bharat can be attained if there is a change in attitude and behavior among inhabitants,” she said.
- P. Sivaparvathi
The gram panchayat of Gujjarlapudi in Sattenapalli Mandal is now ODF, thanks to its Sarpanch, Smt. P. Sivaparvathi. Earlier, with support of mandal parishad development officers she conducted various meetings to bring awareness on the need to observe safe sanitation and also on construction technology. Having identified 87 homes without toilets of the 223 total households, she ensured that all homes had toilets. Thereafter, nigrani committees were formed to ensure that people used their toilets and maintained a clean environment while the village monitoring committee took care of cattle dung and cleanliness of village roads. The Sarpanch also gifted sarees and gift hampers to all beneficiaries who built and used toilets and used IEC material to promote sanitation.
- Peddi Lakshmi
Immense dedication and personnel interaction with the community by panchayat representative, Smt. Peddi Lakshmi brought about the required change in the SBM campaign in Kondabalavari Palem in Kakumanu Mandal of Prathipadu constituency of Guntur District. She involved the community towards maintaining a green and beautiful village. With support from the district administration and PRIs, she motivated people and organized construction material in bulk so that agencies could build low cost toilets. In addition, she organized several awareness building meetings, street cleanliness exercises and used IEC material effectively to change peoples’ attitude. All 250 households in the GP now have access to sanitation.
- Gumma Koteswaramma
The people of Kothapalli, Narakallapalli in Tsundur Mandal of Vemuru constituency in Guntur District have been working hard to ensure that their gram panchayat in the Guntur district achieves a clean image. Under the direction of its Sarpanch, Smt. Gumma Koteswaramma and Panchayat secretary, Smt. Kurapati Keerthi, the village achieved ODF status after providing toilet facilities to all 137 households. Besides providing sanitation facilities in all schools and government institutions, they organized street cleaning and have put in place a monitoring system along with IEC material to maintain the ODF status.
- Mamidi Anuradha
As many as 571 households had to be provided toilet facility before the Munnangi Vari Palem in Tsundur Mandal of Vemuru constituency of Guntur District could be declared ODF. Secretary of the gram panchayat, Smt. Mamidi Anuradha received enormous support from the Sarpanch Sri. Mamidi Sivaprasad to motivate and involve the community to bring about the required change.
The ODF and good environmental status of Nandigama gram panchayat of Sattenapalli Mandal in Sattenapalli constituency of Guntur District, Andhra Pradesh is attributed to the efforts of its Sarpanch, Smt. Nagamalleswari. Inspired by the AP Legislative Assembly speaker, Dr. Kodela Siva Prasad Rao who said that people’s suffering is a result of improper sanitation; she took on the task on making the GP having a population of 6950 and 1650 households ODF. The sarpanch created special interest among monitoring team members by offering incentives (gifts) for those who motivated the villagers to construct and use toilets. In this, she involved the community through various meetings where she distributed IEC material and fixed a penalty of Rs. 500/- for anyone found defecating in the open when they already had access to a toilet. In addition, she conducted rallies that saw participation of village level officers, local leaders, school students, teachers, etc.
- Mannem Sujatha
Once the Sarpanch of Undavalli Grampanchayat in Tadepalli Mandal of Mangalagiri constituency in Guntur District of Andhra Pradesh was convinced about the need to observe good sanitation practices for the health and well being of all people, she took on the task of making her GP ODF. The GP was home to a population of 9763 and 3560 households with 2 schools and 6 anganwadi centres, besides a water source. With support from district, mandal and GP officials, she organized awareness meetings and motivated beneficiaries about personal hygiene and the use of toilets. In addition, a young team was formed that checked open defecation sites from 5 – 7 AM every morning.
- Vemparala Raja Kumari
With a view to ensuring that every home in the gram panchayat of Veluru in Chilakaluripet Mandal constituency of Chilakaluripeta in Guntur District had access to a sanitation facility, its Sarpanch, Smt. Vemparala Raja Kumari visited homes every day. She discussed the issue of sanitation, clean drinking water and her plans to make the GP ODF. She received support from the District Water and Sanitation Committee as well as the District Support Unit in involving the community and to conduct IEC activities; distribute pamphlets and erect hoardings. Today, the GP which is home to 4527 individuals and 1141 families with 4 schools and 8 angawadi centres is ODF.