Indian actress Vidya Balan becomes sanitation ambassador

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Popular Indian actress joined the ranks of Shah Rukh Khan and became the celebrity face for sanitation campaigns in India. As a brand ambassador she will help to fight open defecation, promote sanitation and appeal to communities to help improve their health, livelihoods and security.

The Government of India, together with the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC), based in Geneva, Switzerland for whom Shah Rukh Khan is already a Global WASH Ambassador, conceived the idea.

According to the UNICEF-WHO Joint Monitoring Program (JMP) report 2012, nearly 80 % of India’s 1.22 billion people still practice open defecation. Despite being one of the fastest emerging economies in the world, access to adequate sanitation remains shockingly low, and more Indians own mobile phones than a toilet!

The Government of India has been running a “Total Sanitation Campaign” for over a decade which seeks to provide access to individual toilets to all rural households, toilet units in all schools and waste management to ensure a clean environment in villages. Vidya’s appointment as an Ambassador for the sanitation cause, is expected to help in the fight to change hearts and minds towards this critical development issue, which continues to plague millions of Indians.

“Changing the sanitation and hygiene situation in the sub-continent is about changing mindsets”, said Archana Patkar, WSSCC Programme Manager. “There is no one better placed than Bollywood’s leading men and ladies to help us achieve total sanitation!”