The ODF (open defecation free) district of Saharsa in Bihar has embarked on a public outreach campaign titled, ‘Jan Sampark Abhiyan’ with a view to creating awareness about the need to adopt and sustain safe sanitation practices, among the villages communities living on the banks of River Koshi.
The difference about this campaign is that the local boat is used as a vehicle or swachhata rath, amid various innovative initiatives being implemented across the country as a part of the Swachh Bharat Mission Gramin (SBM-G) campaign and the statewide Lohiya Swachh Bihar Abhiyan.
The target of the campaign inaugurated on 2nd June, 2019 by Block Development Officer Shri. Vivek Ranjan was to nudge communities of Nauhatta block into adopting sustainable sanitation practices.
River Koshi flows along the western part of Saharsa district and a number of villages are located on the riverbanks. Using a boat is perhaps the most effective way to connect with the community and create awareness, while empowering the local gathering.
According to District Consultant, Shri Ravindra Kumar, their inter-personal communication (IPC) strategy has been re-designed to enhance demand creation, focusing on behavior change community.
The programme was led by a team comprising of local PRI (Panchayat Raj Institutions) members and Swachhagrahis. Issues discussed during the meetings were handwashing, personal hygiene, safe sanitation, need for toilet construction, retrofitting, etc. In addition, people were informed about the Aadhar linked incentive payment procedure and the importance of geo-tagging their toilets. People were also encouraged to plant trees and refrain from using polythene bags.
Going by the reaction of village communities during the first few days of the campaign, they appreciated the initiative, having actively participated in the Ratri Chaupals organized in the riverside villages of Andar hati, Boukania Noula and Kandeli. On those occasions the local community was given opportunities to express their ideas and raise their voices.
The initiative which was well appreciated by the communities was ably supported by Block Coordinator, Shri. Dilip Kumar and Mukhiya from Kandeli GP Shri. Prabhakar Yadav.