Social Justice and Empowerment: “Public Health”

In India, Open defecation is a traditional practice from early childhood.

Social Aspect: Sanitation is not a socially acceptable topic, and people do not like to discuss it.

Consequence: Open Defecation has persisted as a norm for many Indians
Reasons for Open Defecation:
No priority for toilets
Rented houses without toilets @ slums in towns and cities
Society point of view:

Society does not view lack of a toilet as unacceptable. Building and Owning a toilet is not perceived as aspirational.

Govt Responsibility or Individual Responsibility??
Construction of toilets is still seen as the Govt’s responsibility rather than a priority that individual households should take responsibility for.

Motivate people to see toilet as fundamental to their social standing, status and well-being

People are aware of health risks related to poor sanitation – specifically of not using a toilet and practising good hygeine but they continue with unhealthy practices

Rural vs Urban:
The practice of open defecation is not limited to rural India. it is found in urban areas too where the percentage of people who defecate in the open is 12% while in rural is 65%

Reasons for Open defecation in urban areas:
lack of space to build in high density settlements
tenants unwilling to invest in toilets where landlords do not provide them
Traditional practice in rural areas:
Open defecation is prevalent among all socio-economic groups although the bottom two wealth quintiles practice it most

Main Challenge to eliminate Open defecation:

Inadequate Human Resource base for sanitation
No dedicated frontline workers to promote and implement sanitation strategies.
No mechanism for their training, management and supervision
Key Requirement:
Integration of Social Behaviour Change Communication (SBCC) elements into Swatchh Bharat Mission (SBM)
Gram Panchayats who receive resources frpm SBM do not benefit from SBCC drive to stimulate demand for toilets.
Elements not integrated in SBM:

Systematic and Structured Information, Education and Communication (IEC) and Inter-Personal Communication (IPC)

The absence of SBCC activities means that many households that receive toilets have not demanded them.

As a result, not all members of the household use the toilets they do not know their benefits. In a small number of cases, no members of the household use the toilets, illustrating the need for more community-level information about sanitation.


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