Collectivisation for Change- Women Self Help Group Members Join Hands to Adopt Total Sanitation in Koraput District

  • 9/29/2017
  • Categories: Document, Odisha, Community Engagement, Administrative and Financial Streamlining, ODF Strategies
  • Author: smojumdar

In Koraput, as many as 10,000 women, who were members of various Women Self Help Groups (WSHGs) were commissioned under the Mission Shakti project by Government of Odisha in 2010. This entailed their working in 14 blocks, to take forward the work being done under TSC. Being a collaborative initiative, it had District Water and Sanitation Mission (DWSM) bringing WSHGs on board as major partners for implementing the Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) in Koraput. This was further strengthened by inviting UNICEF to provide technical support in the capacity of a support agency. The decision to involve WSHGs was taken with conviction, as they had already demonstrated their impact in influencing local communities by being able to successfully penetrate pockets that were plagued by fixed mindsets and barriers. Thus, they had earned the respect of different groups within the gram panchayat (GP). Having powerful women members who used their coercive skills to convince people on the merits of constructing toilets (by using their own example of constructing toilets in their homes), augured well for the programme, giving it the much-needed impetus. Through the efforts of these WSHGs, householders were further mobilised and motivated to switch from defecating in the open to constructing toilets in their homes. Post construction, they were guided on how to use the toilets regularly and maintain them, so as to ensure that they did not fall into a state of neglect and disrepair.