Understanding the grave situation of sanitation across the country, Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi initiated the Swachh Bharat Mission on 2nd October, 2014, making a firm resolution to achieve Open Defecation Free (ODF) India by 2nd October, 2019.
The task ahead was not just to build toilets, but to bring about behavioral change among the communities to eliminate the practice of open defecation. Given the stipulated time frame, various activities, were implemented in Agra and Kanpur to achieve the desired results:
- Efficient Fund Flow System- Direct Beneficiary Transfer (DBT)
In DBT, the toilet incentive fund of Rs.12000 was directly transferred to the beneficiary’s account in two equal installments of Rs. 6000 each for construction of IHHL (Individual Household Latrines). The first installment was disbursed on construction of twin pits with Swikriti Patra (Agreement Letter) to the District Panchayat Raj Office. As for the second installment, it was made when the toilet was fully constructed, painted and LGD (Local Government Directory, code to uniquely identify a toilet) had been marked with “Karya Purti Patra” (Work Completion Form).
For fund transfer, the list of beneficiaries was sent to the bank, following which the bank sent back various status reports such as failure and liquidation report etc. This helped smoothen the flow of funds, avoiding financial discrepancies.
- Capacity Building:
- CLTS Workshops: Such workshops were conducted to train ground level motivators, who were further deployed in villages to sensitise the community towards sanitation.
- Swachhta Doot Training: This was imparted to Safaikarmis, Rozgar Sevaks, and SHG’s on various aspects of SBM, with an aim to involve a larger workforce for the mission as ‘Swachhta Doot’/’Swachhagrahi’.
- Mason Training: On-site mason training helped increase the number of twin-pit technology-trained masons. They were further deployed at each GP, where they could train other masons to create a larger force of trained masons. On an average, a single mason takes 5 days to build one toilet.
- Monitoring through War Rooms:
An ODF War Room is a fully functional room for coordinating, implementing and real-time monitoring of daily activities of the SBM at the district and block level. Block War rooms were initiated in Kanpur and Agra to decentralize information sharing and to monitor ground level activities. It includes daily calls to the stakeholders and status updates on WhatsApp groups via photos of ground activities.
- Involvement of Ground Level Community Mobilizers:
With a view to empowering people and giving them ownership, Nigrani Samitis were formed in every village to carry out morning and evening followup. Equipped with tool kits comprising of
a whistle, torch, cap and jacket, the teams were suitably rewarded when a village became ODF. In addition, one trained Swachhagrahi was appointed per village to motivate people; while Safaikarmi, ASHA and Anganwadi workers and Rozgaar Sevaks were given targets.
- Weekly Review Meeting of Different Stakeholders by District Magistrate
For implementing a scheme like SBM, it is important to involve the highest order of District Administration extensively. Hence, a weekly review meeting of Pradhans, Secretaries and Swachhagrahis of each village was initiated, under the leadership of the District Magistrate.
- High Impact Campaigns and IEC Activities
IEC activities and campaigns are very impactful and ensure sustainability, since they trigger the emotions of people thereby bringing about a sense of competition leading to behavioural change, which is the soul of the mission. Media coverage helps increase awareness among the community. The following IEC activities were carried out:
- On Karva Chauth, husbands who gifted toilets to their wives were awarded by the DM and were tagged as ‘№1Husbands’ of the district.
- Kanpur became the first district in UP to implement sanitation as a subject in primary schools by introducing a book on sanitation which was included in examinations too.
- Painting, Film Making and Essay Writing Competitions were organized in all government schools and selected students were awarded by the PM on 2nd October 2017.
- Wall Paintings on toilets and public infrastructure created a long lasting impact on the community.
- Sanitation vans with key sanitation messages were deployed to GPs.
- Swachh Sports Week was organized for all government schools.
- Vinyl Awareness Stickers on District and Block Vehicles
- Open assembles and Mass Oath Taking Campaigns
- Gaurav Kalash Yatra in ODF villages
- Hoardings at public spaces
- Mass Swachhta rallies in villages
- Competitions such as Best Pradhan, Cleanest Village, Highest MIS, Village with best toilets, Best Swachhagrahi and CLTS team were held to create healthy competition.
By Aishwarya Mishra, ZSBP-Kanpur and Abhinav Tyagi, ZSBP-Agra