The key pivot for the initiative in these 200 villages are the community based change leaders, who have been identified and chosen because of their influence over the target audience.

The four pillars of success of the initiative are:

• Panchayati Raj Institution Members
• Natural & Faith-Based Leaders
• Front-line Health Workers
• Mothers & Caregivers/Community

Panchayati Raj Institution Members

The Panchayati Raj Institution (PRI) members serve as effective leaders of change. During the project, sensitisation and capacity building of PRI members was undertaken in order for them to serve as effective leaders of change. By initiating a community dialogue regularly and addressing issues in their interactions, PRIs led awareness programmes at grass root level can result in clean and hygienic practices among the target groups.


• Can liaison with Government authorities
• Elected representative with the power to motivate
• Can support infrastructure development

Panchayati Raj Institution members undergoing extensive training in order to help them serve as effective leaders of change.

Natural & Faith-Based Leaders

Religious leaders are crucial when it comes to circulating the messages concerning hygiene and sanitation related issues. They have the ability to influence the attitudes of their constituents towards hygiene, the moral choices they make and their behaviour – all of which affect the cause of making the village Open Defecation Free. In addition, they can motivate and mobilise groups of people in different roles for common purposes and help educating the young about the critical role they can play in achieving social and development goals. Moreover, they can act as role models by adopting certain hygiene measures in their own religious communities and institutions.


• Can reach orthodox and traditional beneficiaries
• Strong influencing power
• Have the ability to motivate both genders and all age groups

Natural & Faith-Based leaders pledge their support to make the villages open defecation free.

Frontline Health Workers

Front-line health workers are responsible for providing care to the most under-served rural villages in India. They are highly effective as change leaders as they are constantly in touch with the local communities and are well – respected members of the community. They regularly visit rural homes and educate people of several health and sanitation related issues.


• Already have knowledge about the correlation between sanitation and health
• Strong influencing power
• Potential to connect with women and mothers

Frontline Health workers from Jagdishpur village, Varanasi District, Uttar Pradesh, training mothers about health & hygiene.

Mothers & Caregivers

The single most important leadership skill is the ability to determine what’s most important. Because of all the demands on them, mothers learn to prioritize. They quickly separate what’s most important from what’s not important. Then they put all of their energy into what they have determined is essential. Also being the pivotal or the backbone of the family, if a mother is convinced, that toilets are essential for the safety and well being of the family, then it is easier to communicate the message to other members of the family.


• Can educate the entire family
• Can drive good hygiene at the household level
• Can emphasize on the issues related to safety and security with respect to Open Defecation

Mothers & Caregivers from the community raise their hand in order to show solidarity with the initiative.

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