In October 2017, the district of Buldhana in Maharashtra was staring at about 80,000 households without a toilet facility. Realising what an uphill task they had ahead of them in terms of logistics, the district administration of Buldhana conceptualised a special initiative entitled – ‘Mission 90 Days’ that brought about significant change in their rural sanitation status.
The brainchild of CEO-ZP, Shri Shanmugarajan S., ‘Mission 90 Days’ was a last mile outreach programme to make the district ODF; and the ZP officials responded with enthusiasm.
As a part of the initiative, the district officials selected 200 Zila Panchayat (ZP) officials from various departments and created 40 teams of 5 members each, headed by a senior official. The task of the teams was to carry out regular visits to their allocated ZP circle, each of which consisted of 5-6 gram panchayats (GP). The primary focus of these teams was to make visits to every home.
The first visit to a home was to make an appeal to start construction of a toilet. Thereafter, as officials made multiple visits to the same households, nudging them to build and use toilets, it created a rippling effect in the villages as people gradually started constructing toilets. In fact, it proved crucial to bring about behaviour change. During the entire mission experts from District Water Sanitation Cell acted as single points of contact.
At the end of 90 days, a whopping 61,000 toilets were completed even as consistent efforts are being made by the ZP teams to ensure construction of the balance number and usage of the same. The district is likely to become ODF soon.
The success of the initiative can also be attributed to efforts of officials such as Shri Sakore (Project Director – DRDA), Shri Lokhande (DY CEO – General) Shri Chopade (DY CEO Panchayats) and Shri Rajput DY CEO (Water & Sanitation) who ensured effective implementation with convergence of all departments.
(Inputs from ZSBP-Buldhana)