Building New Toilets
Tuesday, March 10, 2020
Construction of 36 toilets was initiated during the International Women’s Day celebration in Guptapada village, Odisha. AMMACHI Lab’s has organised a Self-Help Group (SHG) specialised in toilet building. The women have decided to achieve 100% toilet status for their village. The program commenced with their monthly contribution amount in their joint bank account.
The Amrita staff and the SHG women had a meeting with Rural Water Safety and Sanitation Department and Block Development Officer earlier this year. They agreed to reimburse the money to the SHG’s account after the construction of first toilet. To start with the construction, a puja (sacred ritual) was performed by 12 members of the group.
Previously in the beginning of 2020, students from Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham had contributed with several sessions on toilet hygiene awareness. Their objective was to study ground water contamination during their 5-day trip. The students had prepared practical demonstrations for the SHG women to convince them of the usefulness of toilets. They also inspired the women to design the toilet interior. Geetanjali, Bafanti, Mina ja Jyotsna draw their designs on paper: place for latrine, place for inlet and outlet water tanks, place for hand wash and so on.
To get a toilet constructed, a government subsidy* is available to get reimbursement. The role of non-governmental organisations is to provide awareness on toilet construction, maintenance and hygiene habits. Households can decide individually when they are ready to build their own toilet.
*Swachh Bharat Abhiyan programme started in 2014 and operates using reimbursement model: once a household decides to build a toilet utilising own funds and providing required documents, the reimbursement can be applied. It is approximately between 12 000 – 15 000 rupees. This subsidy is directed to the household living under poverty line.