A country is only as strong as its people. Its people are only as strong as long as they are healthy. For over 5 years now NDTV & Reckitt Benckiser have been talking about and promoting the need for a clean India through Banega Swachh India.
Our campaign began in 2014, the same year that the Prime Minister began the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan for the country.
In our first year, a Swachh Express bus travelled through 350 villages across 7 states to educate people on the importance of sanitation and toilets and proper handwashing techniques. We raised a mammoth INR 281 crores for toilet building and maintenance.
We introduced Swachhatha ki Pathshala in the second year and created a hygiene curriculum to encourage children to incorporate hygienic practices in their lives from a young age
In year 3 we continued with the agendas of year 1 and 2 and introduced #mereduzguz, where every citizen was asked to do their bit to clean India by keeping a personal 10 yards area around them clean. In year 4 we launched the clean, compost and segregate drive & year 5 focused on air pollution, created a clean air agenda with the help of doctors and experts and asked for manual scavenging to be eradicated.
This year, after leading a very successful Swachhta (Cleanliness) Initiative, we move the conversation from Swachh to Swasth (Health). Helmed by NDTV’s Dr Prannoy Roy and campaign ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, the campaign will talk about how a clean India leads to a healthy India as health can only flourish when the environment around one is clean.
There is nothing more precious to human life than health. Right now
- 1 in 40 babies die in childbirth
- 1 in 25 children die before age 5
Most of these deaths are due to lack of hygiene, lack of access to clean water, pneumonia, diarrhoea and malaria.
This year as we embark on a new phase of our campaign to make the country cleaner and healthier, we will focus on the well-being of our mothers and children. If hygiene and nutrition can begin there, a strong foundation can be laid for the future health of society.
We will also work with governments and health experts to come up with a suitable health agenda that can be implemented in all of the states. We will also urge our supportive audience to contribute to our Swasth Box. We will curate this box specifically for post-natal care. These curated boxes will be given to mothers across the country improving the chances of their baby surviving. We hope to get the Swasth box to every mother and child who needs one.
The deadline for India to become open defecation free is this year. October 2, 2019 is the 150th birth anniversary of the Mahatma and it was his vision to see India rise as a clean country. If we all come together we can achieve this. And along with a country where open defecation can be eliminated, we are fighting for a country where our youngest and most vulnerable of our society stay healthy.
It is imperative that our future is clean and healthy. We owe this to our children.