SBM-G led to behaviour change of communities in Nagaland

A people’s movement, Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) was one the largest behaviour change campaigns in the world.  It instilled in communities a civic sense, the need for cleanliness and a hygienic lifestyle for the health and well-being of all people.  This is evident from accounts of these villages in Nagaland, according to State officials.

Langzanger Village, Kiphire District

With the introduction of SBM under PHED Department in Langzanger Village of Kiphire District in 2016-17, the village community experienced manifold changes amongst the people who were keen to adopt safe sanitation practices.  The mission had laid the groundwork for the construction of public toilets, a drainage system, with public dustbins for waste management.  This enabled efficient management of waste and at the same time helped in the beautification of the village. The biggest merit of the scheme was the change in the mind-set of the people, they learnt ways to keep their village clean.  All this was done with community participation that helped in the successful implementation of the Mission.

Longkhitpeh Village, Tuensang District

The age-old practice of open defecation was uprooted and replaced with the use of sanitary toilets provided under SBM(G) in Longkhitpeh village of Chare Block, located about 51 kms from Tuensang town.  This feat would not have been possible without the right awareness building exercises among the Sangtam Naga tribe that inhabited this village, along with the supply of toilet construction material to the beneficiaries.  The village was declared ODF in 2015, owing to the commitment, collaboration, co-operation, and goodwill of numerous individuals of the village.  The use of toilets led to a drastic change in the sanitation and hygiene sector, eventually leading to change in the mindset and ultimately bringing about deep-rooted behaviour change.  Thereafter, open rearing of pigs was discouraged by the respective village councils, helping them maintain a cleaner and healthier habitation.

Mangmetong Village, Mokokchung District

One of the problems faced by Mangmetong village in Mokokchung District was the dire need for sanitation facilities among delegates and the public who attended seminars and trainings and public gatherings at the Community Hall (Panchayat Ghar).  In the absence of adequate sanitation facilities, people would answer nature’s call at the nearby open places. This was not only unsightly, it also posed health risks and polluted the environment.  Most of all, it reflected poorly on the turnout during community gatherings. The village had been striving hard to tackle this challenge for a long time.

PHED along with the village bodies built a Community Sanitary Complex in 2018 in the vicinity of community Hall to meet this challenge.  This brought a positive change to the village that was home to a population of 4159 individuals.  With increased awareness amongst the people, the overall impact was seen in a cleaner physical environment and changes in social practices.  The Sanitary Complex will go a long way in mitigating the sanitary needs of the attendees and local denizens.

The Village Water and Sanitation Committee along with the village Council have done a commendable task in its up-keep and maintenance, helping sustain the ODF status of the village.

Mesulumi village, Phek District

Open Defecation was particularly harsh on women who along with others in the community had to resort to the practice in the absence of sanitation facilities.  Those days when women had to go into the jungle at night to answer nature’s call were difficult and marked with several health issues.  A very few households had kutcha toilets.  The SBM campaign changed the social topography of the village, enabling them to adopt improved lifestyles, according to Ms. Wenyilo-u of Mesulumi village in Phek District which was declared ODF in 2015.   

Sumi village, Phek District

Sumi village in Phek District had achieved ODF status in 2014.  However, according to a village council member, the village was quite different a few years ago, owing to illiteracy and lack of knowledge about modern lifestyles.   When toilet construction material first arrived in the village under Swachh Bharat Mission-Grameen (SBM-G), the village elders refused to adopt safe sanitation practices.  They were bent on continuing open defecation, their fore-fathers’ style and even refused any proposal for development.  However, with education and awareness, many people gradually embraced change and today the community is happy about it.  Even as the government initiated the cleanliness programme, the Sumi village community went a step forward and made theirs the cleanest village in the district with a separate committee constituted to keep the village clean.

Another matter of concern was the household waste that accumulated in the absence of a dumping ground and a drainage system.   All backyards were littered with kitchen waste. The Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) Phek Division has been working to build awareness and is training people in solid and liquid waste management to meet the objectives of Swachh Bharat Mission-Grameen (SBM-G) Phase II.  The objective is to build clean and green villages.

Of late, things are gradually taking shape and the situation is improving. Swachh Bharat Mission-Grameen (SBM-G) had led to changes in the lifestyle of the people.

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