Sikkim, Kerala: What Could Be The Reasons For The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’s Success?

A huge level of commitment went behind making the Swachh Bharat Mission popular and end the practice of open defecation; from top-level bureaucrats, government bodies, private institutions to local civic bodies. Even though open defecation may not have been completely eradicated from the country, but a dramatic transformation has been observed in quite a many states like Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Kerala to name a few that have managed to sweep off open defecation completely. With the construction of toilets people in rural and urban parts of the country have not only adapted to a healthy lifestyle but also invoked a behavioural change, which has been observed within the masses who are much more concerned than before for unhygienic and poorly maintained toilets.

It has returned dignity to the women and young girls who would earlier go to isolated fields in the dark to relieve themselves. The building of functional toilets along with education have played a massive role in making the Swachh Bharat Movement a success. There are other few factors that helped in putting down a strong foundation for Bharat Swachhata Abhiyan which are discussed below:

  • The program was continually scrutinised and it underwent constant audits so that any potential shortcomings could be addressed at the earliest.
  • With the implementation of the programme, the top bureaucrats performed several field checks and understood the ground reality. Even after toilet constructions, many people were apprehensive in using it, the reasons for which were later understood and solutions were proposed.
  • To combat poor and inadequate sanitation and curb the practice of open defecation, the social, cultural and behavioural drivers of open defecation were addressed. Dedicated sanitation workers were sent to such areas to communicate, inform, educate and train the population about the harms of open defecation and encourage toilet use.

There are other pillars that give strength to the Swachh Bharat Mission and try to make it a success. India Sanitation Coalition is one such support that brings the implementers of change as well as the funders under one roof so that innovative and unique solutions can be identified and implemented for sanitation and waste management.

Featured image for representative purpose only. Featured image source: Sharada Prasad CS/Flickr.
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