The district of Palamu in Jharkhand is employing some innovative IEC (Information Education Communication) activities to sustain behavior change, such as ‘swachhata se sundarta’ and swajyoti abhiyan’ among others to ensure sustainability of safe sanitation practices, including toilet usage.
Under the Swachhata Se Sundarta Campaign, individual homes, schools, anganwadis and government offices were encouraged to beautify their sanitation facilities with sanitation messages and colourful motifs depicting hygiene and sanitation. Around 30% of homes now have colourful toilets, all of which are being used regularly.
During Diwali, Swajyoti Abhiyan is observed when the district administration distributes diyas (clay lamps) with the inscription Swachh Palamu Sundar Palamu to convey the importance of keeping homes and surroundings clean all the time.
Further, Bhaiya No. 1 Abhiyan is held during Raksha bandhan festival; appealing to men to gift toilets to their sisters – not only to protect their dignity, but also to ensure good health and well being of the whole community.
Palamu is also in the process of implementing other activities to ensure sustainability. To ensure toilet usage, Nigrani Samitis have been formed in every village, that carry out regular morning and evening followup.
With more and more districts declaring themselves as open defecation free (ODF), the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation (MDWS) had issued guidelines for ODF verification with a checklist for a gram panchayat (GP) or village to be declared ODF. To date as many as 57 gram panchayats out of 283 GPs and 324 villages out of 1836 villages have been verified and geo tagging has been completed in 85.17% of homes.
In addition, all 1117 dysfunctional toilets have been made functional. To cater to units where retrofitting may be required, a pool of trained masons has been created. There are no toilets left out of baseline survey as per official data.
Swachhagrahis are the foot soldiers of the SBM-G, the frontline motivators for bringing about behaviour change with respect to key sanitation practices in rural areas. Their role is one of the key factors in achieving the ODF status and sustaining it through post ODF activities. In Palamu, as many as 1791 swachhagrahis have been deployed to carry out awareness building and triggering exercises, monitor toilet usage and carry out inter personal communication. Among these, the outstanding motivators are presented with Swachhata Kits containing soap, soap dish, sanitary pads and a jug.