Bihar launches Swachh Gaon-Hamara Gaurav Abhiyan

By Rajesh Chandra, Consultant-IEC/CB (SPMU-Bihar)

To sustain the gains achieved during the first phase of Swachh Bharat Mission Grameen, the State SBM-G unit of Bihar has launched an ambitious IEC campaign named ‘Swachh Gaon-Hamara Gaurav’ meaning Clean village, Our pride.

The seven-month long campaign is being held from 4th September 2020 until March 2021. During this period, one week of every month has been earmarked for regular morning and evening follow-up to ensure sustainability of open defecation free (ODF) status.  This will be carried out in all the villages of the State by the local Swachhagrahis with the help of members of the village Nigrani Samiti.

As the campaign progresses, should the Nigrani Samitis spot any individuals going out for open defecation, they will be advised about the ill effects of open defecation through inter-personal communication and convinced of putting an end to that practice.  

Additionally, several activities such as essay writing, painting competition e-chaupals and shramdaan have been integrated into the campaign to promote community participation and a sense of ownership and pride amongst the people.

Further, to spruce up BCC (behaviour change communication) activities, separate themes have been tagged for each month, the themes for the first four months being:

September 2020Sustaining the ODF behaviour of communities
October 2020Regular use of toilets and personal hygiene
November 2020Operation and maintenance of Community Sanitary Complexes by the communities
December 2020Retrofitting of toilets

According to the Mission Director, Lohiya Swachh Bihar Abhiyan Mr. Balamurugan D, ‘Apart from effecting behavioural change, this campaign also strives to identify the gaps, which need to be plugged. It is important to understand the reasons as to why a few people prefer to defecate in open despite having toilets in their home.’

Mr. Rajeev Kumar, State Co-ordinator of Lohiya Swachh Bihar Abhiyan, explained that after the first phase of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan was over, it became imperative to empower the communities for neighbourhood surveillance of pro-ODF behaviour. “Activation of the Nigrani Samitis is the cornerstone of this IEC campaign as they can play an important role in the establishment of a sustainable surveillance mechanism,” he said.

A multi-pronged approach has been adopted for monitoring the campaign.  Apart from physical monitoring by state, district and block level officials, mobile App based monitoring has also been put up in place.

To recognise exceptional work and efforts, a provision has been made to reward communities participating in painting and essay competitions at block and district levels.  Also, the outstanding Swachhagrahis and other team members will be rewarded at the block and district levels.

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