Youth boost hygiene in Rajasthan’s COVID-19 fight

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Determined to fight COVID-19 and improve health and hygiene practices, young people in Rajsamand district of Rajasthan are spreading awareness on sanitation and hygiene in their community.
By
Raza Naqvi
Youth ensuring sanitation in markets
Youth encourage people coming to the market to use hand sanitizers
Youth ensuring sanitation in markets
Description
Youth encourage people coming to the market to use hand sanitizers

Speaking to WSSCC, Mr Nana Lal Salvi, District Coordinator of Swachh Bharat Mission Grameen (SBM-G) explained, “To bring a positive change in sanitation and hygiene practices in the district, the youth have adopted a theme named –‘cleanliness of my village is my responsibility."

Young volunteers, named Swachhata Rakshaks (sanitation warriors), are working across three Gram Panchyats (or village councils) of the district - Bhana Gram Panchyat, Banediya Gram Panchyat and Bamantukra Gram Panchyat. There are 11 volunteers in each Gram Panchyat (GP). They are responsible for advocating good sanitation and hygiene practices, such as frequent handwashing with soap and water, use of toilets by all members of the family, maintaining physical distance and proper management of solid and liquid waste.

“To prevent the spread of COVID-19, the district administration has installed a handwashing unit with soap outside the District Council Office. With the help of these volunteers, we are now planning to install handwashing stations across all GPs of Rajsamand district. This is to ensure that people adopt the habit of frequent handwashing in their daily lives,” explained Mr Salvi.

The district administration is now planning to expand the project to have teams of volunteers across all 207 GPs of the district. The move aims to promote good sanitation and hygiene practices. They have also announced a 3P (Promise for Protection with Participation) Panchayat Award, which will be given to a GP that manages to create maximum impact within a year.

The competition will motivate people to adopt healthy practices. We are also looking forward to making community sanitary complexes to leave no one behind, said Salvi.  

Youths supporting hygiene promotion in Rajasthan
Description
Youths supporting hygiene promotion in Rajasthan

WSSCC reached out to one of the volunteers –Mr Hariram Gadri, who works in Banediya GP. Explaining the kind of work he is doing, he said, “I am telling the importance of hand hygiene to the villagers. This will help people to combat COVID-19 and also [to] adopt good practices so that they don’t expose themselves to diarrhoea and other diseases.”  

The volunteers are also painting walls and earthen pots to spread awareness about sanitation and COVID-19, “People use earthen pots for storing water, we are writing messages on them so that people read them to adopt healthy practices and prevent themselves from coronavirus infection,” explained Gadri.

Through their dedicated voluntary work, the Swachhata Rakshaks have started making an impact in the district.

“Recently, they came across a family who had a toilet at home, but they were using it for storing wood. The volunteers explained the importance of safe sanitation practices to the family members, and they were persuaded to use the toilet,” said Salvi, adding that the volunteers cleaned up the toilet and restored it to a usable condition.