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The travelling mega-campaign known as the Nirmal Bharat Yatra, or “Great WASH Yatra,” concluded 19 November in Bettiah, Bihar, India, after having successfully traversed five Indian states and some 2,000 kilometres, The Yatra, supported by WSSCC (which contributed the focus on menstrual hygiene management), was an interactive awareness-raising and advocacy platform that focused specifically on sanitation and hygiene. (Click here to see a photo gallery from The Yatra.)
WSSCC worked in partnership with WASH United, an NGO, and Quicksand, an Indian change-agent firm, on the Yatra, which was supported by the Government of India. Beginning 2 October, it passed through six towns and villages in five states, from Maharashtra to Bihar, and covered nearly 2,000 kilometres. The Yatra reached nearly 150,000 people directly who attended the events, and another 90 million indirectly, through media coverage.
On site, the Yatra consisted of several tents (Toilet Lab, Handwashing Lab and a Menstrual Hygiene Lab) that opened up the dialogue around those themes, supported by displays and interaction with the visitors. WSSCC was the lead partner in coordinating the Menstrual Hygiene Management Lab, which was a space that facilitated frank and open conversation by women and girls around MHM. WSSCC and its partners – Arghyam, Goonj and the Digital Empowerment Foundation – was able to host 18,000 women and conduct hundreds of Focus Group Discussions and individual surveys on menstrual hygiene management attitudes, knowledge and practices. With its partner Goonj, WSSCC was able to demonstrate sanitary napkin production to the visitors, and distribute a menstrual hygiene kit that included napkins, information and under garments.
The Yatra contributed to WSSCC’s work aimed at improving behaviour change at scale in sanitation poor states in India, with a focus on engendering sanitation and hygiene for women and girls. A full evaluation report is being prepared by WSSCC partner EAWAG and will be available in January 2012. Other expected outputs are publications and audio/visual materials developed by the various partners in the Yatra.
Check out these links, as well:
Nirmal Bharat Yatra Official Website
The Nirmal Bharat Great WASH Yatra: what a long, strange and wonderful journey it has been
Nirmal Bharat Yatra celebrates Global Handwashing Day with soapy mega-party in Indore on 14 and 15 October
Re-inventing toilet talk in India with cricket and Bollywood
Hindustan Times: On the Yatra trail, Bollywood actress comes clean
Speech by Archana Patkar at the Nirmal Bharat Yatra launch
A tide of change in India - 3,000 days of pain and shame is out in the open