District Monitoring Cell boosts sanitation coverage of Vizianagaram

DMCSanitation coverage of Vizianagaram district in Andhra Pradesh has seen exponential growth of 48% in 2017, having increased from 11.42% in 2014 to 86.73% in January 2018.  The improvement can be attributed to some extent to regular fortnightly reviews on a real time basis by the Chief Minister that included several VCs and teleconferences every Monday.

In March 2017, the coastal district stood at 674th rank among all districts of the country and rose up to the 217th rank by October 2017 and 20th rank on 1st January, 2018 which is an impressive achievement.  Currently ranking 11th among non-ODF (open defecation free) districts, the district will be declared ODF shortly.

According to ZSBP (Zila Swachh Bharat Prerak) of the district, it was the District Swachh Bharat Monitoring Cell, set up at the district headquarters that contributed to the success of their Swachh Bharat Mission Gramin Campaign.

DMC2Until September, the monitoring cell functioned at a smaller scale, monitoring specific programmes such as the ambitious “100 Hours” programme where 10,000 IHHLs (individual household latrines) were constructed in 100 hours, and in the process made 71 Gram Panchayats (GP) ODF.

However, the district administration felt need for a dedicated, full time functioning monitoring cell, as stable performance was lacking and departments still worked independently.  It called for an effective convergence between all significant departments pertaining to the SBM-G programme. Thus, it was decided to strengthen the already existing monitoring cell by converging departments into 19 committees primarily based upon the task and not on the departmental line.

With a view to ensuring effective co-ordination among all stakeholder departments in the district and for smooth and speedy execution of the IHHL programme, the SBM-G monitoring cell was constituted.  It has the representation of at least one higher level officer per department who would ensure continuous monitoring of the progress.  Other than implementation, the monitoring cell coordinates the issues/bottleneck at field level during execution with converging departments, namely –  Mandal Parishad’s, DRDA, DWMA, DPO, DEO, etc.

DMC3Major Committees of the Monitoring cell include IMIS for data management and data analysis, IEC for various triggering activities and training and capacity building, material procurement and management, media and PR, reporting and management of institutional and community toilets, etc.  The District Collector closely monitors all the committees regularly via meetings, video conferences and tele-conferences.

The District Monitoring cell is where the entire brainstorming and planning takes place for the efficient delivery of the Swachh Bharat Mission Gramin.

(Inputs from ZSBP-Vizianagaram)



A toilet makes life easier for Madashi Gouramma


Madashi Gouramma, the wife of Uppalaiah lived in Chennaraopet Mandal, of rural Warangal District of Telangana.  Having been widowed earlier, the mother of four sons had just a ramshackle hut to her name.   That neither of her sons took any time or effort to help her was another cause of her misery.

There was a lake nearby to which she and others from the village would go each morning or evening, while still dark, to answer nature’s call.  That was the practice followed by many of them for ages.  The same water was used for various other purposes.

When the Swachh Bharat Mission Gramin team carried out a survey of the village, they registered her name.  The teams also carried out several triggering exercises, convincing people about the need to follow safe sanitation practices; and awareness building sessions on building toilets and using them for the health and well being of their community.

Thereafter, the Village Sanitation Committee assisted her to construct a toilet.  It was a twin pit toilet that affords her all the privacy she needs.  She is happy and humbled with the facility they have provided for her just outside her house.  It seems like a godsend.  She wouldn’t have to wake up in the dark to find a secluded spot any more.

(Inputs from ZSBPO-Warangal)

Headmistress becomes sanitation champion


A walk through the Government School in Poolamedu panchayat in Cuddalore district of Tamil Nadu and you are bound to be impressed by the cleanliness of the surroundings.  The clean environment is a result of the painstaking efforts of the head mistress of the school, Ms. Deevika.

Ever since the Swachh Bharat Mission Gramin (SBM-G) was launched in the district, the school head was inspired to do everything she could to make her students and staff comply with the recommendations of the district administration in order to make the school environment both clean and healthy.

Every morning, students begin the day with a sanitation pledge during prayer time.  There follows the ODF (open defecation free) attendance where students answer if they practice open defecation or not.

She has also been motivating her students to segregate their waste and put the same in the allocated bins – blue for dry waste such as paper and plastic; and green for wet waste.  There are about 200 students in the school and she has encouraged them to keep their surroundings clean both at home and at school, while emphasising the need to use toilets.


Owing to her constant efforts many school children have persuaded their families to build toilets at their homes.

Moreover, the steps she has taken have instilled a civic sense among the pupils.  Owing to the efforts of the head mistress, the entire panchayat is now ODF.  During the recent Republic Day function, the District Collector honoured Ms. Deevika, bestowing on her the title of sanitation champion.

(Inputs from ZSBP-Cuddalore)

Champaran Ka Rann – a movement against open defecation


Quit India Movement was launched by Mahatma Gandhi on 9th August, 1942.  On that date, 75 years later, the district administration of East Champaran on 9th August, 2017 started the initiative called Champaran Ka Rann to fight against uncleanliness; and open defecation.

Champaran Ka Rann is a platform for all people to learn and share their experiences with the community.  To that end, the campaign has encouraged community participation in bringing about awareness of safe sanitation practices to achieve a clean and ODF (open defecation free) Champaran that will culminate at the end of the Champaran Satyagrah Satabdi year.

The district administration considers it to be a great tribute to the Father of the Nation who believed that sanitation was far more important than independence.

Capacity building

The district administration has appointed scores of Swachhagrahis as agents of change and Nigrani Samitis to carry out follow up actions.  It has also organised capacity building for all stakeholders; and enlisted the support of school students as messengers of hygiene and sanitation.

Toilet construction

As far toilet construction is concerned, twin pit toilets have been promoted as a safe and sustainable toilet option.  Towards this, the district officials have organised a robust supply chain to meeting timely requirements.  Once toilets are built, focus is being given to usage and sustainability of ODF status through strengthening of PRIs, Nigrani Samitis and linkage with other development schemes.  In addition, geo-tagging, MIS entries and inter-district verification is being carried out by officials and agencies.

Community participation

For the purpose of this campaign, all officers have assumed the position of Swachhgrahis, having become efficient CLTS (community led total sanitation) motivators themselves in the process of triggering the community and supporting them to achieve ODF status.

The campaign has sought active involvement of PRI (panchayat raj institution) members, media persons, district officers and all individuals of the district.

The children who are the future of the community are being triggered and encouraged to join the Champaran Ka Rann initiative. A unique slogan ‘Mujhe Shouchalaya Chahiye’ coined by the District Magistrate has represented the voice of the children of Champaran who do not have toilets at home.

Convergence with all departments

Convergence of the departments has been a crucial issue for the ODF movement in the district. All the departments have committed for a Clean and ODF East Champaran, the education department being one of the front runners in the campaign.

Sanitation Park

A sanitation park has been established and named Gandhi Swachhta Park in which 8 types of toilet models have been constructed using different technologies to suit geographical as well as economical needs.  Visitors to the park can make learned decisions on the type of toilet technology they can opt for.

IEC and IPC tools

With a view to changing mindset and influencing behaviour change with regard to sanitation, the district administration has extensively used Information, Education and Communication (IEC) and Inter Personal Communication (IPC) tools.

Environment building is one of the key parameters of the initiative.  Towards this, different types of hoardings, wall paintings, pamphlets on toilet technology, were designed.  Further, a 100 KM Padyatra was undertaken under the leadership of the DM, Mr. Raman Kumar from 23 December to 25th December, 2017.  This was started from Chandrahiya Village in Motihari and ended at Kesariya Budhha Sataup, covering about 100 villages enroute.  The focus of the padyatra was to emphasise the importance of proper sanitation, and to strengthen the children’s demand – Mujhe Sauchalya Chahiye.

At every juncture of the walk, the DM raised the concerns of the elderly, pregnant women, teenagers, adolescent girls, the disabled, and family dignity, urging people to reflect on their situation and how open defecation affects them.


The remaining 4 blocks were covered in a similar pattern where the DM undertook Swachhgrah Yatra and organised triggering activities, morning follow-up, Mujhe Sauchalya Chahiye Campaign, ODF village visit, etc.

Support of JEEVIKA

JEEVIKA has extended full support to the district administration in this mission through active involvement in environment building, IEC, triggering, IPC, CLTS activities as well as targeted approach to every household left out of the baseline survey.  They have asked each of their members to start construction work and to date 80,214 families have contributed to the wonderful experiment in Champaran Ka Rann.

(Inputs from ZSBP-East Champaran)

140-KM long human chain spreads SBM-G message


With the formation of a 140 km-long human chain on 2nd February, 2018, possibly the longest in the world, the district of Sonbhadra in Uttar Pradesh is set to feature in the Limca Book of Records – a reference book which showcases India’s Incredibles, chronicling their achievements across different fields.  This feat was intended to spread the message of Swachh Bharat across the country.

Objectives of the campaign

With the aim of achieving Open Defecation Free (ODF) status by 31st March, 2018, the human chain mobilized communities from across the district in large numbers to join hands and pledge to ensure proper sanitation and hygiene in homes and surroundings and stop the practice of open defecation for good health and well being of all people.

It was a part of the district’s series of campaigns for behaviour change.  the human chain involved new converts or people who had recently done away with the practice of open defecation; and motivated them to pledge to inspire others to get rid of the age-old habit.


The 2nd largest district in Uttar Pradesh, Sonbhadra is the only district in the country which borders four states namely Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Bihar.  Over the last couple of years, the district has seen massive progress in the number of households with toilets, with coverage rising from less than 30% to over 55%, in a little more than 3 years.  Close to a lakh toilets were built during that period.

However, the district authorities felt the need to accelerate the Swachh Bharat Mission Gramin (SBM-G) campaign so that the dream of an ODF country would materialize within the stipulated date of 2nd October, 2019.

The human chain

A staggering three lakh people from gram panchayats situated across the selected routes participated in the formation of a 140-km long human chain.  The event went a long way to spread awareness about sanitation, not just in the state, but also across the entire nation.  It was an ambitious attempt to break the record currently held by Nadia District of West Bengal, which achieved a similar feat on 21st Feb, 2015.  This initiative, though not the first of its kind, was much larger in its extent, and hence, the effects of it are expected to remain in the memory of people across the district and the country for a long time.

The District Magistrate of Sonbhadra, along with all the other departments, of the district consider this as the biggest and most effective of all mobilization activities to have ever been conducted in the state, involving women, men, children, youth and elderly from all sections of the society.

The plan

Dharamshala Chowk in the heart of the Robertsganj block was chosen as the major intersection point for the human chain that started from Khaliyari in Nagwa block, winding through Dharamshala Chowk in Robertsgang; then onto Hindwari and Karma in Ghorawal block before ending in Chopan block.


The entire route of 140 km in length was divided into 3 Super Zones, which were headed by Additional district magistrate rank officers. Going further, these Super Zones were further segregated into 13 Zones, 26 sectors and over 130 booths, the supervision of which was carried out under the guidance of Zonal or Class I officers of the district, who were placed at intervals of every 10 kms.

Further, for effective management and smoother functioning of the event, Sector officers were deployed at intervals of every 5 km along the way, and they supervised the Booth Officers who were placed after every km.  Furthermore, sub-booth officers were deployed under the Booth Officers at every 100 metre stretch, so that every individual contributing towards forming the human chain was under the scanner of the district authorities.

Markings were clearly shown on the roads with the help of flags and hoardings at specific landmarks.

Hence, over 2500 officials and staff, along with school headmasters and teachers, Anganwadi and ASHA workers, the village pradhans and secretaries and other officials and staff of various departments were trained to look after the management of the entire event.

People were provided drinking water facilities through Nagar Palikas/Gram Panchayats, while all the district/block/village level officers and staff provided assistance at every step for the smooth functioning of this historic event.

Community participation

Children – middle and high school students and women across the district participated in the event in huge numbers.  In the run up to the event, proper guidelines for their management and training were provided to school authorities, village pradhans, kotedars and anganwadi heads by the district officials, through regular meetings both at the block and villages.

Various mock drills and meetings were conducted at different points in the district, to analyze the kind of difficulties that might arise in the functioning of the event, and details were communicated across the district, so that the management authorities would anticipate the same, and act accordingly.

Over 100 buses were arranged to transport people from distant blocks to the event venue and back to their respective villages.  An additional 26 buses were kept available every 5 kms for last minute movements and as safety points.

The Minister of the Panchayati Raj Department, Uttar Pradesh also participated in the event, inspiring people to join campaign.

IEC activities

Banners and Posters for the promotion of the event and for developing consciousness towards sanitation and health were put up at regular intervals, and people were encouraged to call out slogans against open defecation and other ill-practices of sanitation. Over 3 lakh paper-caps were distributed to the participants for uniformity towards a common cause.


The Traffic Police Department ensured proper management of traffic while officials from the Health and Education Department were deployed for any kind of emergencies that might arise during the course of the campaign.  Further, as per the directions of the District Magistrate and the Traffic Police Department, the highways and roads from Varanasi to Shaktinagar, Dudhi to Lumbani and Khaliyari to Ghorawal remained closed from 8 am to 2 pm, to ensure safety of people who gathered along the roads. Even the district officials were directed to use only motorbikes for conveyance and communication along the route.

As many as 26 ambulances were deployed at every 5 km stretch, and all booth and sub-booth officials were provided with first-aid kids for any medical emergencies that arose.


After forming the human chain, over 3 lakh people from across the district, took an oath to work towards an ODF district by the stipulated date, under the direction of the District Magistrate and other concerned officials.

In addition, following a media briefing by the District Magistrate earlier, media persons were present at the event, giving fair coverage in the press as well as on air.

The event was recorded through high resolution (HD-4K) and drone cameras, and the Panchayati Raj Department provided necessary assistance for the entire coverage of the event. To and fro travel from New Delhi-Varanasi-Sonbhadra and accommodation arrangements were made for the officials from the Limca Book of World Records, even as the district officials provided full cooperation with the officials during the entire event.

The officials and people of the district hope that their event will motivate the entire country to work for the cause of sanitation, health and a clean tomorrow.

(Inputs from ZSBP-Sonbhadra)

‘Mission 90 Days’ boosts SBM-G campaign in Buldhana


In October 2017, the district of Buldhana in Maharashtra was staring at about 80,000 households without a toilet facility.  Realising what an uphill task they had ahead of them in terms of logistics, the district administration of Buldhana conceptualised a special initiative entitled – ‘Mission 90 Days’ that brought about significant change in their rural sanitation status.

The brainchild of CEO-ZP, Shri Shanmugarajan S., ‘Mission 90 Days’ was a last mile outreach programme to make the district ODF; and the ZP officials responded with enthusiasm.

As a part of the initiative, the district officials selected 200 Zila Panchayat (ZP) officials from various departments and created 40 teams of 5 members each, headed by a senior official. The task of the teams was to carry out regular visits to their allocated ZP circle, each of which consisted of 5-6 gram panchayats (GP).  The primary focus of these teams was to make visits to every home.

The first visit to a home was to make an appeal to start construction of a toilet.  Thereafter, as officials made multiple visits to the same households, nudging them to build and use toilets, it created a rippling effect in the villages as people gradually started constructing toilets.  In fact, it proved crucial to bring about behaviour change. During the entire mission experts from District Water Sanitation Cell acted as single points of contact.

At the end of 90 days, a whopping 61,000 toilets were completed even as consistent efforts are being made by the ZP teams to ensure construction of the balance number and usage of the same.  The district is likely to become ODF soon.

The success of the initiative can also be attributed to efforts of officials such as Shri Sakore (Project Director – DRDA), Shri Lokhande (DY CEO – General) Shri Chopade (DY CEO Panchayats) and Shri Rajput DY CEO (Water & Sanitation) who ensured effective implementation with convergence of all departments.

(Inputs from ZSBP-Buldhana)

Swachhagrahi Asiyabhanu’s tryst with sanitation

BhanuAt first sight, you will assume that Mrs. Asiyabhanu is just another burqa clad woman walking down the streets of Mukkanamalaipatti village in Pudukkottai district of Tamil Nadu. Only when you start interacting with her, will you understand the important role she has played as a Swachhagrahi in a bid to make her village Open Defecation Free (ODF).

Like the Satyagrahis, who practiced non-violence to attain total independence for our country, Swachhagrahis, are trained women – one appointed in every village, striving for total sanitation in their villages.  Also called motivators, they toil day and night to make their villages ODF.

Be it in a skill development programme or a scheme that provides drinking water to villages, or the Swachh Bharath Mission-Gramin wherein the government is facilitating the construction of Individual Household Latrines, Mrs. Asiyabhanu leads the villagers and acts as a liaison between villagers and the government staff.

It was the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation in association with DRDA Pudukkottai that first selected her as the Swachhagrahi of Mukkanamalaipatti panchayat and trained her in community approaches to sanitation.   Considering that in the early days, she was not even allowed to go outside her house by her family, the courageous woman has come a long way.  Unfazed and determined, she went ahead with what she thought was right and set off to make her village ODF.

It began when she commenced a survey of the villages by going door to door to identify how many of them had functional toilets. Thereafter, she visited those households which did not have toilets and spoke about the importance of having a toilet at home citing women’s security and health as the reasons.  Along with her friends, she even went to open defecation spots early in the morning to persuade people not to defecate in open. At times she also had to hear insults and abuses by naysayers.

Villagers often complained that toilets would incur huge operational and maintenance cost owing to frequent filling up of the septic tank. That’s when she told them about twin pit toilets and their benefits where in if one pit fills, the alternate pit is put to use. Meanwhile in the first pit, the water leaches out and the excreta decomposes to become fertile manure which can be emptied with hand at no external cost, she explained, adding that it could be used for agricultural purposes.

Through continuous interaction and follow-up she has motivated around 250 families to construct toilets and helped them get their incentive of Rs.12000/- per toilet through the panchayat.

Safe sanitation cannot be ensured by just constructing a toilet.  Being aware of this, she regularly visited homes to check if the toilets were being properly used.  This she continued until everyone in the family was convinced about the need to use the toilet at all times.  Other advice she provides pertains to segregating waste into wet and dry waste and handing it over to Thooimai Kaavalars who come to their doorsteps each morning to collect the same.

In addition, the swachhagrahi visits schools and anganwadis regularly, teaching children the important steps to washing hands with soap; while touching upon the need to wear washed clothes, brush their teeth twice a day, wear footwear, cut their nails and bathe daily.  She believes that if everyone follows such simple steps regularly, around 80% of the diseases can be averted.  Apart from this, she also teaches girl children about menstrual hygiene.

For her untiring efforts, Mrs. Asiyabhanu and six other women have been selected for JRD Tata National Virtual Academy Fellowship which recognizes rural change-makers across the country.  She was also a part of the Swachh Shakti congregation in Gandhinagar in March 2017 organized by the Government of India to honour women who have contributed immensely for a clean India.

By Ashwin Kumar, ZSBP-Pudukkottai, Tamil Nadu