19th November is celebrated as World Toilet Day as declared by the United Nations Organisation. The day is aimed at raising awareness about 4.2 billion people living without access to safely managed sanitation. It is intended at encouraging action to tackle the global sanitation crisis and achieve Sustainable Development Goal 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030.
World Toilet Day 2020: Sustainable Sanitation and Climate Change
Floods, droughts and rising sea-levels caused as a result of climate change are posing a threat to the sanitation systems in the world. Therefore, the theme of World Toilet Day 2020 is Sustainable Sanitation and Climate Change in order to ensure access to sustainable sanitation facilities that can withstand climate change to everyone.
Swades Foundation’s initiative to Provide Sustainable Sanitation to Rural Households in India
Swades Foundation operates with a focus of empowering 1 million Rural Indians, every 5-6 years. The organisation has a unique 360° intervention inside-out model of development, with a multiplier effect. They take on a holistic approach to solve issues in villages, committing to improving the standard of living in rural areas. Their works cover 4 key verticals – Health & Nutrition, Education, Water & Sanitation and Economic Development, with their work benefitting over 500,000 people today.
Swades Foundation believes that having household toilets is critical towards facilitating a healthy lifestyle. It has ensured that every individual from a family in the district of Raigad, has access to a toilet in their respective homes. The foundation also works to ensure the sustainability of the work undertaken. Since 2013, Swades Foundation has built over 23,883 household toilets with 1,339 villages declared as ODF. A part of the funds for building the toilets are collected through community contribution to providing a sense of ownership to the local communities. These toilets are built on a twin soak pit model using brick & mortar, pre-cast and pre-fab superstructures. The foundation has 1,945 Nigrani Samitis formed and trained on sanitation framework which monitors the progress of the communities, with the aim of being open-defecation free. Hand wash and upkeep of toilet is a must and is regularly monitored by trained Nigrani Samitis nominated by the community themselves, who also ensure that all family members should use the toilet regularly. This is in addition to providing schools with access to toilets and clean drinking water. 196 schools have been provided with drinking water & sanitation infrastructures impacting nearly 30,000 students year-on-year. The foundation has also built 693 drinking water schemes with taps in 35,278 homes impacting over 174,810 lives.
For sustainability and behaviour change, the organisation conducts various street plays, community-led total sanitation programmes, swachhta raths, rallies and other modes to engage with the community and ensure an open defecation free geography. The ultimate vision of the foundation is to reduce the incidence of disease due to open defecation and to restore the dignity of individuals, especially women and children.