- Role of women lauded in rural Uttarakhand going ODF
- Women from Chamoli were in the forefront to spread sanitation awarness
- 25 women from Haridwar underwent training to build toilets
With construction of 5,84,000 toilets since the launch of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014, the rural part of Uttarakhand was declared open defecation free (ODF) by the state’s Chief Minister, Trivendra S Rawat on June 22. Urban Uttarakhand will attain the ODF status within this financial year, declared the Chief Minister.
But one of the things that was highlighted at the event to declare rural Uttarakhand ODF was the role played by women in bringing about behavioural change.
"Children and women played leadership role in bringing behavioral change in rural Uttarakhand"- Director, State Water & Sanitation Mission
— Swachh Bharat I #AzadiKaAmritMahotsav (@swachhbharat) June 22, 2017
In one of the 13 districts of the state, when a survey was undertaken it was found that women were affected most due to poor sanitation conditions. To highlight this plight of women, in Chamoli district the village heads deputed women to end open defecation. Women of the district went from door-to-door to request families to construct toilets and within 25 days 811 toilets were built making the district ODF.
Every woman and child has benefitted from the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. We do not have to be afraid of going to toilets anymore, said Kiran Devi, one of the Chamoli residents.
Like Chamoli district, women of Haridwar district came to forefront in constructing toilets. A group of 25 women from Lal Dhang in Mithi Beri gram panchayat and surrounding villages, belonging to extremely poor families, not only the spread awareness about sanitation and hygiene but also turned entrepreneurs by building and selling toilets.
In January these women attended a training programme where they learnt to build twin pit toilets. Together, they assembled and sold toilets. They waged their own local revolution against pollution, hardships and diseases by ensuring their neighbours have access to toilets and clean water.
These rural women have played a vital role in helping Uttarakhand achieve the ODF status. It is inspiring stories like these that set an example for other to follow and improve the sanitation conditions across the country, especially for women.