To strengthen Hon'ble Prime Minister's "Swachh Bharat Mission" and to support Uttar Pradesh's state government's initiative to make 30 priority districts open defecation free (ODF) by 31.12.2017, a multi-stakeholder event "You Are The Solution for Swachh Uttar Pradesh" was jointly organized by RB & Jagran Pehel under "Dettol Banega Swachh India" on 10th July, 2017 in Lucknow.
The highly enriching and successful event was organized to spearhead discussions and actionable agenda for increased commitment by WASH leaders and community ownership for Swachh Uttar Pradesh. It demonstrated the willingness to come together and work collectively for Swachh Bharat. The event was attended by over 100 participants representing several WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) leaders, experts and partners including state govt., district/local administrative authorities, UN agencies, faith based leaders, corporates, NGOs, private sector, donor and communities etc. This confluence of high level WASH leaders, proved to be a dynamic knowledge, best practices, and solutions sharing platform. These WASH leaders and partners extended their commitment and support to end open defecation through sharing best solutions/practices, knowledge, technologies and multi-sectoral strategies that have helped villages/districts to achieve and sustain ODF status within Uttar Pradesh and in other states of India.
Knowledge is most important for any economic and social development and ignorance can be compared to a dark room. No matter how long the room has been dark, the moment the lamp of awareness is lit, the entire room becomes luminous. With a message "You are the luminosity and You are the Solution", chief guest Shri. Surya Pratap Shahi and dignitaries including Swamini Adityananda Saraswati Ji, Mr. Jack Sim, Mr. S.M. Sharma, Dr. Andreas Brandner and Mr. Ravi Bhatnagar lighted the lamp.
To set the context of the event, project documentary was showcased. The vision, mission, journey, key pillars, IEC/BCC tools and an overall impact of RB & Jagran Pehel's joint initiative "Changing Behaviour: Creating Sanitation Change Leaders", under Dettol Banega Swachh India campaign was shared with distinguished guests and participants through a short film. It was followed by an enlightening and motivating video Message from H.H. Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswati Ji, President, Parmarth Niketan and Founder/Chair, Global Interfaith WASH Alliance. Swami Ji expressed that the nation will change once individuals realize their innate potential, responsibility and come forward united with the pledge that "We Are The Change" making it a citizen movement for Human to Human connect. Therefore, the journey from "You Are The Solution" to "We Are The Change" is important to make India Clean.
Chief Guest Shri Surya Pratap Shahi, Cabinet Minister for Agriculture, Agriculture Education and Agricultural Research launched the Impact Assessment Report that embodies behaviour change strategies adopted, activities undertaken, success stories and impact created through public-private participation during the first year of the project. Accentuating on the importance of the campaign, in his inaugural remarks, he said, that as we gather here to discuss strategies, share sustainable solutions the goal of Swachh Uttar Pradesh can surely be achieved if we work through strong eco-system. The public-private partnerships were encouraged to take best use of technology and innovations for maximum good to reach Swachh Bharat goal by 2019. He emphasized on pro-activeness of the government coupled with knowledge sharing and appreciated the effort of people from all sections of the society coming together to take responsibility. He expressed his confidence that RB and Jagran Pehel will certainly provide solutions to address existing challenges and help to make Uttar Pradesh ODF.
In order to maximize the impact several best practices and solutions were shared such as successful models of micro financing through banks, financial institutions, SHGs etc to overcome financial barriers in the way of toilet-building including for people living under BPL or those who availed the subsidy earlier and didn't construct toilets. Solutions such as duckweed, correct and practical toilet designs (community/school/individual toilets), SMART Toilets (Safe & Sustainable, Maintainable, Affordable, Recyclable and Technically perfect), Socially, Culturally, Economically and Environmentally acceptable toilets (EcoSan toilets, toilets with bathing facility etc) safe water storage and handling practices, food hygiene, waste management, system strengthening, community led initiatives, innovations etc were also presented.
As per WHO, 60% of open defecators in the world are in India and 1/3rd of these are from Uttar Pradesh. Since health is completely interlinked with WASH it has to be addressed with holistic approach for "Swachh Bharat, Swasth Bharat". Sludge and waste management is critical for reducing illnesses and to increase life expectancy along with using correct designs of constructing toilets in rural/urban settings. It was mentioned that indicators and benchmarks to measure health impacts require fine-tuning. Multi-stakeholder approach is required for complete behavior change for good health and hygiene practices at all levels in the country.
It's a moral responsibility of every citizen and a strategic action is required to engage, consult and develop intersectoral collaboration between Health & WASH. This session highlighted practices and solutions that have worked well in other states. Severe health impacts of poor hygiene practices were shared for which behaviour change tools and techniques were also presented by the panelists. The panelists also discussed the need of eco-system to foster to achieve objective of Swachh Uttar Pradesh.
Focusing on reduction in child mortality and morbidity due to pneumonia and diarrhea, Mr. Ravi Bhatnagar, Head Partnership and External Affairs, RB, shared Dettol Banega Swachh India's handwashing bracelet (locally made, child safe and water proof). This contains the 7 steps of handwash with pictures as constant reminder on the hands of the child.
12 Change Leaders from "Dettol Banega Swachh India" phase-1, were felicitated by Hon'ble Mr. Syed Shahnawaz Hussain, National Spokes Person, Bhartiya Janata Party and Mr. Neelkanth Tiwari, Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports, Uttar Pradesh, for their initiatives, significant contributions and setting an example for others. Felicitation of the real champions "Sanitation Change Leaders". It was evident that age, gender and physical disabilities can't be barrier if determination is strong to bring change in the society (e.g. Mr. Ghanshyam Das from Etawah, despite of being visually impaired, he built a toilet at home with his own money, Ms. Geeta Devi from Kannauj converted her kitchen into a toilet for the safety of her 2 adolescent daughters, Mr. Kamleshji from Varanasi, despite of being physically challenged, he saved his pension to build a toilet). Every Change Leaders is an inspiration for all of us to live courageously, never give-up and change your life to change others.
Mr. Ghanshyam Pandeyji, a wealthy genius, knows the ritualistic astrology, while worshiping in the temple of Saifee in Sai Temple. He sensitizes all devotees and villagers who come to the temple about the religious significance and benefits of personal hygiene through chanting. He actively organizes and participates in Sanitation Chaupals organized under the program. He creates awareness about the risks of open defecation and the need to stop it to achieve and sustain the ODF status. Every Thursday, in the Sai Temple premises, her organizes a session with the devotees on personal and community hygiene. Spiritual enthusiasm for cleanliness acts as a source of inspiration for the society.
Mr. Syed Shahnawas Hussain, National BJP spokesperson released Ms. Neelika Tara's book which is a collection of poems in Swachhta. He said that community ownership, partnerships and accountability are critical to strengthen the system to change behavior at last mile. As every partner have something to offer, he urged all WASH leaders for stronger commitment to align resources (technical knowledge, sustainable solutions & financial support) as an integral part of sustainable development & pathways to change current WASH scenario of India.
The panellists spot some light on various aspects of sanitation such as behaviour change, technology, maintenance, treatment and policy change etc. They highlighted critical need of sanitation finance and shared several successful models and practices. Multi-stakeholder collaboration, importance of community led approaches, exploring local talents and building their capacity to become change leaders, empowering working population by providing them right kind of information, training, income etc to enable them to contribute towards the success of Swachh Bahart Mission was also discussed.
Correct technology for fecal management and crowd funding for viable and sustainable operations, infrastructure and maintenance were shared. Region based toilet solutions were provided. Solutions to protect water sources, cost effective affordable methods for connecting water till home and develop comprehensive water treatment plan for irrigation were discussed. Proper implementation of existing laws, regulations and polices was also emphasised upon.
Overall an inspiring and engaging event ‘You are the Solution for Swachh Uttar Pradesh' was concluded by a vote of thanks from Mr Ravi Bhatnagar. He expressed heartfelt thanks to all dignitaries, panelists, participants, organizing committee for their enthusiastic participation and strong commitment towards common goal of Swachh Bharat. The event was closed with India's National Anthem.
Knowledge plays a critical role for behaviour change as developing countries can grow dynamically and independently through strong eco-system. Stronger commitment and willingness to come together by WASH leaders and Knowledge Partners within India and across the world was demonstrated through this event. A solution oriented approach is emphasised to change the current picture of WASH scenario of Uttar Pradesh as well as entire India.
Everyone agreed that it's the time to rethink strategies to reach the unreached and marginalised sections through innovative solutions, best technologies, effective public-private partnerships, system strengthening and strategically targeted interventions for behaviour change at all levels. To take it forward, Dettol Banega Swachh India will integrate best practices and solutions into 2nd phase of its initiative "Changing Behaviour: Creating Sanitation Change Leaders", and replicate its successful and sustainable model by working closely with the State Govt. for Swachh Uttar Pradesh.