Sanitation Project to make communities Open Defecation Free
The Rotary Club of Madras has embarked on a path breaking project to end open defecation in India. A pilot to create an open defecation free community was initiated at Amarampedu village, in Gummidipoondi, Thiruvallur District near Chennai, Tamil Nadu. 30 toilets have been completed, 50 more will be completed by March 2015. Each toilet costs Rs. 15000 (Fifteen Thousand).
After a thorough research and understanding of the issues concerned, we took the local villagers into confidence and explained to them in detail about the various aspects of having and using toilets.
The Rotary Club of Madras started to build toilets where the locals did the construction. In this way, they have taken ownership and feel that this is done for their family and personal welfare. This is where Rotary’s role became critical and brought about the attitudinal change. We are proud of this achievement said Rtn. S.N. Srikanth, President, Rotary Club of Madras.
At this meeting, it was also announced, former world chess champion, Mr. Vishwanathan Anand along with actor Jiiva will be the Swachh Bharat ambassadors of The Rotary Club of Madras.
According to Rtn. P. Suresh, Director, community service “Half the population of India – over 600 million people – defecates in the open. The result is a host of diseases including diarrhea, cholera and typhoid, stunting of children’s growth, high infant mortality and assaults on women who defecate after dark. Feedback Foundation, Delhi (www.feedbackfoundation.in) were roped in as consultants and expert facilitators for the project.”
Mr. Ajay Sinha, CEO, Feedback Foundation said, “The project uses a variant of the Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) method. CLTS has been successful in dozens of countries around the world, including parts of India. Bangladesh, for instance has reduced the number of open defecators to under 10% using CLTS. At the heart of CLTS is the recognition that merely providing toilets does not guarantee their use. It relies instead on “triggers” such as disgust and shame to make communities change their Behaviour in a sustainable manner. Thereafter, construction of toilets is community-led, not imposed by an outsider, be it the government or any other agency.”
The success that the pilot project of the Rotary Club of Madras has seen since its initiation in July 2014 is incredible. Within two days of “triggering”, the members of over 70 households out of the 100 or so in Amarampedu village started digging leach pit toilets have on their own. The village is now well on the way to construct a toilet in every home.