By Youth Ki Awaaz and SHRI:
Modi’s government continues pouring resources in to its Swachh Bharat Mission. Yet rates of open defecation remain alarmingly high throughout India. This should come as no surprise to anyone, for India’s sanitation crisis is one that is equally predicated upon a lack of access to toilets as it is to a lack of awareness. This makes sense when one stops to consider the fact that those defecating in the open belong to just the latest generation of indigent Indians forced to engage in this behavior, one which has been normalized over hundreds of years. Reversing this behavior requires a dedicated effort to facilitate an understanding of why using a toilet is more beneficial than using nearby fields and roadsides.
#GiveAShit episode 1 follows Suresh Prasad who runs a local acting troupe based in Bihar. They utilize puppet shows to spark collective change. By the end of each performance, after the audience is done laughing hysterically, entire communities understand how they can shift health, social, and economic outcomes in their villages by using a toilet.
Half of India’s 1.2 billion people defecate (poop) outside, in the open every day. That is twice the population of the United States of America. This has severe consequences on the health, society and economy of India. With over 100,000 tons of untreated human waste out in the open – it is a serious health risk, especially for children under the age of 5. Outdoor defecation also poses a serious security threat to women and girls. Economically, India spends nearly $54 Billion (6% of GDP) in countering open defecation.
Though the PM has launched India’s Swachh Bharat Mission with the aim of making India open defecation free by 2019, the ground reality goes far beyond building just toilets.
#GiveAShit highlights what India’s rural poor believe are the implications of life without a toilet and the structural flaws that prevent millions from gaining access to a toilet.
How you can give a shit? Help us spread the word.