A three-day regional workshop in Varanasi was organized by the Divisional Swachh Bharat Team to share best practices for progress towards the SBM (Clean India Mission). The learning event facilitated by WSSCC and the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) was held from January 11 to 13 with the participation of 75 participants from seven districts of the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.
The event served as a learning platform for sharing innovations and successful practices between districts for changing behaviour and attaining and maintaining Open Defection Free status (ODF) in Gram Panchayats (GP), blocks and districts.
“The end goal of the learning event was to enable district teams to generate recommendations for ways forward and action plans that strengthen their districts’ SBM programme,” said Vinod Mishra, WSSCC’s head of the India Support Unit.
In India, 44% of the 1.3 billion population defecates in the open and 10% of under 5-years deaths are caused by diarrhoea. The Swachh Bharat Mission (Clean India Mission) aims at achieving an open defecation free India by 2019.
Over the course of the three-days, district teams worked together to share and discuss practical experiences and methods throughout the different stages of the journey towards ODF.
The teams which included Pradhans, Block Coordinators, Block Development Officers, District Programme Consultants, Preraks, District Panchayat Raj Officers (DPROs) and Chief Development Officers (CDOs) visited nine villages across five districts sharing their findings and concerns.
Good practices, experiences and insights shared covered a wide range and included for example the notion of Updating the baseline the decentralisation of Information, Education and Communication (IEC) funds, ensuring a range of different sanitation champions ( masons, religious leaders, community groups etc…) , giving priority to the most disadvantaged, utilizing different funding streams, building and maintaining school toilets, taking advantage of celebrations and religious festivals to raise awareness and encourage children to become change agents.
Participants all agreed that the ideas and insights shared during the workshop were useful and that they will make a positive contribution to their work.
“I got new ideas and innovations and finally practical goals to achieve success in SBM. The final action plan is the most important implementation tool,” said one participant. Another added that by learning from other districts, work strategies will improve with better results and for achieving ODF.
“Several requests were received for similar workshops in other districts, UP wide as well as interstate. A note has been prepared to help others convene and facilitate other similar rapid action learning, sharing and planning workshops drawing on experiences,” said Mishra.
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