A movement fulfilling the dream of a clean India
India’s most ambitious mission, Clean India by 2019, is critical for the well-being of India’s population; the work by volunteer citizens is helping in realizing Gandhi’s dream of a swachh Bharat (clean India). A cadre of 1,000 swachhta senanis (sanitation ambassadors) are acting as action-oriented grassroots changemakers and are leading the swach gaons (clean villages) movement in the Nuh district of Haryana. These volunteer sanitation ambassadors are some of the 10,000-plus community leaders trained under Sehgal Foundation’s Good Rural Governance program since 2008.
Vision for a clean village
In 2016, the volunteer ambassadors joined hands with fifty field staff members from the Sehgal Foundation in order to mobilize and train community leaders in this initiative. They began by organizing community meetings, door-to-door visits, rallies, and school campaigns with the objective of bringing behavioral changes into the sanitation practices of villagers. Awareness drives explained how to maintain sanitation structures in communities and schools, and how to prevent diseases and create compost pits.
Forty percent of households in the district did not have toilets. The team engaged schoolchildren who took the message home—spurring parents and neighbors to construct and use toilets and to help keep their villages clean. In communities with sanitation vigilance committees, the ambassadors help monitor the sanitation activities and continuing improvements.
Making the difference
Voices from the grassroots
“After learning about the Swachh Bharat Mission in the training session conducted by Sehgal Foundation, I joined hands with the panchayat and other sanitation ambassadors to organize rallies and door-to-door campaigns. As a result of our efforts, almost 90 percent of households now have toilets and are also keen to use them.”
-Jakir, sanitation ambassador of village Ghida, Nuh.