New Delhi: As part of the 75th Republic Day celebrations, a special event was organised by the Ministry of Jal Shakti to honour women change makers of Swachh Bharat Mission – Grameen in New Delhi. This landmark event was aimed at fostering collaboration and driving progress. It was planned not just for celebration but for meaningful policy discussions, according to a government release. As per the release, these interactions commemorated the achievements of the women change-makers in the sanitation sector and provided an opportunity for insightful exchanges that could influence future policy directions.
This event brought together over 475 women from across the country in a vibrant dialogue with the Union Minister of Jal Shakti, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and Minister of State of Jal Shakti, Rajeev Chandrasekhar.
Jitendra Srivastava, Joint Secretary and Mission Director, SBM-G welcomed the participants and congratulated the women changers makers ‘for being the change they want to see in the world.’
He updated on the SBM progress across the country that shall soon witness more and more villages moving to the ODF Plus Model category, thanks to the zeal and motivation of the women leaders.
An ODF Plus Model village sustains its ODF status, has arrangements for solid and liquid waste management and is visually clean.
Chandra Bhushan Kumar, Additional Secretary and Mission Director, JJM set the context of the event which was for Nari Sashaktikaran as women have transformed themselves into leaders and changemakers across all sectors including SBM-G. Underlining the cleanliness journey, he said that we must ‘improve our waste management systems, learn from different states and continue to focus on ‘Jan Bhagidari for Sampoorn Swachhata’.
The event also put a spotlight on “Swachhata Shakti: Stories of Women Transforming India’s Sanitation at the Grassroots,” a tribute to the exemplary work of these dedicated women.
During his interaction, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat observed that the success of SBM is evident with the ‘construction of more than 11 crore toilets, over 5 lakh villages declared as ODF plus and over 4 lakh villages with arrangement of liquid waste management. These achievements are no small feat, yet it is not big enough that we rest on our laurels.’
He emphasised the mission of SBM-G being a ‘long-term endeavour’ and speaking with the women changemakers is special because often, women have always provided a new momentum, new energy and a new life to the journey forward on cleanliness. We must move forward on the SBM-G movement by the declaration of more villages as ODF Plus model for which he sought support from the women changemakers requesting them to help create ‘a culture of sanitation and a sense of ownership in the community for the SBMG assets.’
Applauding the women champions who were present at the event, Rajeev Chandrasekhar said that all of you together ‘inspire the diverse strengths of women hailing from various states, each with unique topographies and terrains, the common thread binding all of you is the unwavering commitment to the program and mission for cleanliness. The collective efforts transcend geographical boundaries, embodying the true spirit of unity in the pursuit of a cleaner nation.’
He said that the unity in diversity makes my belief stronger that with your dedication and hard work, India will present an example to the world in sanitation. SBM is set in a revolution and has brought about the world’s largest behavioural change drive that has helped avoid diarrheal deaths and improve nutrition and productivity. We should look at technology solutions and learn from each other. He added,
I urge you to remain steadfast in your commitment by engaging with your communities, collaborating with departments, and joining forces with SHGs to support women. All of you play a critical role in shaping the work we do.
In his concluding remarks, Union Minister of Jal Shakti said that all change makers who have shared their journey with us must go back to their village, and tell the people back home about the exemplary work being done in the field of sanitation and cleanliness across the country. Inspire them to follow environment-friendly and economically viable practices and follow our digital handles for cross-learning. He said,
I am confident that the event has been engaging and one that has inspired you to continue working with more dedication and I am sure seeing the example set by you, other people will also learn and contribute to the making of ‘Sampoorn Swachh Bharat’.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which in its Season 10 is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Ayushmann Khurrana. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In a world post COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental well-being, self-care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.