Clean Toilets Recognised

Kharibari Village, India


Our constant efforts have finally paid off, as now all 17 families have their own toilet and are using them. But the biggest challenge is getting villagers to continue to use them. Generally, it seems that people start following instructions for a few days but then return back to their old habits.


We have been planning how to best keep villagers motivated to continue to use the toilets, regularly, and for that I suggested that the committee initiate a Clean Toilet Award. Before that, I had asked the committee to take a survey and award the family whose toilet will be found very neat and clean. It took a long time before the committee came together after postponing the toilet survey, thrice. Finally, last month we were able to have our toilet survey and select the winning family.


I had laid a few guidelines for committee members to use for choosing the winning family, like cleanliness of toilet, water storage , toilet cleaning brush, and hand washing soap at or near the toilet. The committee did the survey in my presence and Mr. Haridas’s family was chosen as the winners.


They were given 1 toilet cleaning brush, 1 harpic liquid and 2 dettol soap for hand washing. We have decided to continue the award bi-monthly. Our initiative has motivated other villagers to keep their toilets clean, and now committee members are planning to start a Clean Home or Ideal Home Award.


For a long time we have been trying to tap local resources like housing and other programmes from the government. Kharibari villagers' problem was that they would neither ask the local representatives, nor did they pursue them. Now after nearly three years, the committee is active and is learning how to approach the local authorities. For my part, I took them to our Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) as well as a local panchayat member with an application. Finally, our effort paid off and one villager Mr. Gonda has been given a house under the PMAY initiative for affordable housing by the Prime Minister Housing Programme.


We had our south Asia staff conference in Nepal where we had a good time with the other staff from the south Asia region.


Recently, I met our MLA and invited him to Kharibari Village to give proposals for other village welfare programmes. He has given dates for the coming week to visit Kharibari.                                                                                                                          


Thank you,