6.2 lakh toilets! That was the toilet construction target for Udaipur in Rajasthan – an enormous feat that has to be achieved in a span of four years. Not only was the target the highest in the state, majority of the toilets were needed for Kotra Block that is situated farthest from the district headquarters with many challenges in terms of implementation of various schemes.
In the final year of the Swachh Bharat Mission Gramin (SBM-G) Rajasthan campaign, Udaipur has been left with a target of 2 lakh individual household toilets to construct; and nearly 20% of them have to be built in the Kotra Block.
The fact that the Block spreads across an area of 1110 sq.kms and comprises 44 gram panchayats (GPs) poses the largest challenge. Further, as in other tribal parts of the district, it features a topography that is hilly with scattered households.
Other than aspects associated with its demographics, the region has some unique challenges with regard to bringing about the required behaviour change, given that the tribal region has a defecation system quite unlike others. Most of the households are located on hills with a lot of open space and distance between them. This affords them sufficient privacy while defecating in the open. Under the circumstances, morning follow-up becomes difficult for the block administration, considering that people are not found to be defecting in groups. Also, creation of demand for toilets is easier said than done.
Exclusive IEC campaign for Kotra Block
It was to address such issues that the block level administration came out with an exclusive IEC campaign for Kotra Block with a view to reaching a huge audience in a short period of time. The basic idea was to enlist the support of school students for sensitization of the community with regard to sanitation and hygiene and motivating their families to build and use toilets.
School children were an apt choice among stakeholders such as local communities, government bodies, masons, sarpanchs, etc. Also, considering the age category they belonged to, they would be capable of building a solid foundation of sustainable sanitation related practices in a community.
Further, if children demanded toilets in their homes, a usage-driven toilet demand could be created within a community. Behaviour change and adoption of sanitation related habits is higher among school students. Thereby, more households and a larger population can be captured if school children are targeted under the programme.
Swachh Bharat Yuva Sangam (SBYS)
A school level behavioural change programme, Swachh Bharat Yuva Sangam has been designed to motivate and sensitize school children for adoption of sanitation and hygiene related practices. Done in convergence with the Department of Education of Kotra, Panchayat Samiti administration, district level administration, the programme was launched in secondary and senior secondary government schools of 6 gram panchayats across the Kotra Block.
Activities conducted under SBYS
Swachhata Rally: The programme began with a Swachhata Rally conducted by school teachers and students where they marched around important public places of the village to spread the message of sanitation. They carried with them motivational banners, hoardings and raised slogans to promote the idea of sanitation and an open defecation free (ODF) society.
Swachhata Shramdaan: Voluntary cleaning of public spaces in the village was carried out by school students, teachers and a team from the block administration soon after the rally. This was intended to inculcate a civic sense among students and the general public as well to keep surroundings clean at all times.
School Triggering: A soft triggering session followed to create awareness about the importance of safe sanitation practices which includes toilet usage to keep disease at bay; to ensure that hand washing and other sanitation related habits are adopted. These sessions were conducted by personnel from State Resource Groups (SRG).
Open Q&A Session: Conducted by the administrative team, the open question and answer session provides students an opportunity to ask questions related to sanitation or otherwise. These sessions have helped enormously in increasing interaction between students and the administration while creating a sense of belief in the government machinery.
Oath Taking: This is a concluding activity of the programme, where students take the sanitation oath (Shapath-grahan) to keep their households and surroundings clean. This has gone a long way to create a sense of responsibility among students to ensure clean surroundings.
Information Education Communication (IEC) material used
A huge campaign like this required huge IEC material backup to create a lasting impression among the minds of the viewers. Effective IEC material makes a mark in peoples’ minds and makes them absorb and remember the content communicated to them.
Hand-written hoardings and banners: Students participating in this event were made to design hand-made hoardings and banners with slogans related to Swachh Bharat Mission. These were carried by students during the rally.
Swachh Bharat Mission Caps: All participants were provided with white caps with ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’ logo printed on it. While creating a sense of ownership and involvement among participants, the caps that were carried back home acted as a SBM memento in homes of students.
Flex Hoardings and Banners: Printed flexes and banners were used during school triggering as visual aids to promote understanding of sanitation concepts.
Audio Material: SBM audio songs were played during students’ rallies featuring both national and district level songs in Hindi.
Expected behavioural change outputs
- Sensitisation of school children regarding sanitation and hygiene
- Adoption of toilet usage by students
- Increased usage of school toilet facilities by students
- Message of sanitation and toilet construction reaching maximum households of a GP
- Children driven toilet demand created in the community where children of a community commit themselves to toilet usage and hence create a demand for a toilet in their household at least. With the adoption of toilet usage by children of a household, other members also start using it.
(Inputs from ZSBP-Udaipur)