District Open Defecation-free Project, Uttarakhand

The Tata Trusts’ Himmotthan Pariyojana (HMP) programme was launched in 2001 to focus on developing sustainable communities and livelihoods in the Central Himalayan region of Uttarakhand. Himmotthan has implemented several WASH programmes – 129 villages have benefitted through the construction of more than 200 gravity flow water schemes and 6,000+ rural sanitation units have benefitted more than 46,000 rural people within the region. The current phase – lasting till 2020 – will benefit another 500 villages and 60,000 people through various interventions.

For the subsequent phase, the Trusts are focusing on sustainability through Social and Behaviour Change Communication (SBCC) involving sensitisation, mobilisation, participation and ownership of people in improved WASH habits.

In 2016, the Trusts piloted the Samajhdar campaign to encourage behavioural change within the Himmotthan Pariyojana programme. This initiative was launched in 12 villages of the Gangolihat block of Pithoragarh district, Uttarakhand, and used a step-by-step process aimed at inculcating desired WASH habits concerning water, sanitation and hand washing.

The Samajhdar campaign began with an introduction to desired WASH habits, then collected baseline data before finally leading to the identification of potential Samajhdar group members.

Some of the highlights include:

  • Swachh Jal Yatra
  • Cotton and glass water demo (hand wash)
  • Students demanding the availability of soap in schools
  • Students reminding parents to keep water covered and pour out what is necessary
  • Villagers starting to construct toilets on their own initiative

The Trusts used various tools at different stages throughout the campaign, such as T-shirts, caps, posters, animation films, skits, school activities, and puppet shows, etc. In addition to the hand washing demonstration, the programme used the facilitation method of self-esteem, associative strengths, resourcefulness, action-planning and responsibility (SARAR). 

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