Conversation on Swachh Sivasagar – Towards a clean Assam

Sanitation Scribes invites you for a Conversation on ‘Swachh Sivasagar: Towards a Clean Assam’. The discussion will highlight the team-spirit and effective participation of community members to create an Open Defecation Free (ODF) Block in Lakwa (Sivasagar district).

 

Virendra Mittal, IAS, Deputy Commissioner, Sivasagar and members of the Panchayat will be sharing their experiences. The conversation will be moderated by Joyshree Das Verma, Chairperson, FICCI-FLO. Other participants include mediapersons, students, technical experts and civil society organizations.

 

Do join us for a cup of coffee and a stimulating conversation.

 

Date: August 29, 2015
Time: 5 to 7 pm
Venue: Guwahati Town Club, Near Judge’s Field, Guwahati

 

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Sivasagar DC Virendra Mittal interacting with villagers

 

Sanitation Scribes initiative, between Shishu Sarothi and Thumb Print Foundation, supported by UNICEF Assam, is a unique one that aims to bring into focus issues around Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in Assam. Achievement of WASH targets including elimination of open defecation and availability of safe drinking water, depends to a large extent on creating awareness and sensitization among communities for which it is critical to make WASH issues an acceptable and urgent ‘talking point’ in the public discourse. The aim of Sanitation Scribes is to bring hitherto non-prioritised issues into the mainstream.

 

Background:

 

The practice of open defecation has a drastic impact on child survival rates and child development. Diarrhoea causes the deaths of 1.5 million children under five globally every year. In India, 597 million people[1] go out for open defecation. With this trend, India will not be able to meet the target for sanitation as mentioned in Millennium Development Goals (MDG). Accelerating access to use of toilets and hygiene practices has become a national priority. The situation in Assam is better than the national average – with sanitation at 69 percent (www.ddws.nic.in: Oct 2014). In Assam, however, the challenges remain around use of non-sanitary toilets and access to sanitation in many areas especially in the tea garden areas of upper Assam as compared to other areas of the State.

 

The Government of India has identified sanitation as a priority and has launched the Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin which continues to lay strong emphasis on behaviour change communication through the Community-led total Sanitation (CLTS) or Community Approach for Total Sanitation (CATS). This approach focuses on Collective Behaviour Change for elimination of open/ unsafe defecation for a healthy ‘swachh’ society as against simply awareness creation or constructing toilets. This approach involves facilitating a process to inspire and empower rural communities to stop open defecation and to build and use latrines.

 

The Sivasagar model is a successful example of the CATS approach to ensure community participation and ownership for successful and sustainable elimination of ODF.