The absence of household toilets forces people to use the outdoors, which is inconvenient, undignified, especially troublesome for women, spreads diseases, pollutes the environment, and makes the village dirty.
Therefore, a development project implemented by S M Sehgal Foundation has made communities aware of health and hygiene and provided financial and construction assistance for building household toilets. The beneficiaries for assistance in household toilets are selected on the basis of their poverty and the absence of a toilet. The toilets constructed are household single pit with sato pan, which is low cost and consumes less water.
Fifty-year-old Lali is uneducated and lives in village Niajalpur, block Nangal Choudhary, district Mahendergarh, Haryana, with her husband Babulal and daughter Pervesh. They actively participated in the cleanliness campaign at their village organized by the project in August 2020. During the sanitation drive, they became further conscious of the importance of toilets and also came to know that the project was providing an assistance of INR 20,000 if the beneficiary family contributed INR 8,000. Without such an economic assistance the significantly lower-income-bracket families like Lali’s would not have been able to construct the toilets. Lali’s family earns only about INR 3,500 per month through farming. Hers was the first house in her village where the project’s household toilet was constructed in October 2020, and her daughter says, “I am so happy to have a toilet at home, as before this I used to struggle daily.”
Shishpal and his five member family have a similar story. They live in village Bayal, block_Nangal Choudhary, district Mahendergarh, Haryana. Shishpal has studied up to the eighth grade and is a farmer. The family lives on a low annual income of INR 50,000. They had not been able to afford building a toilet in their residence. However with the project’s financial support of INR 20,000, in November 2020 they got a toilet by contributing INR 8,000.
Shishpal says, “When we did not have the toilet in our house and we had to walk a far distance, due to which the women particularly faced a lot of problems.”
Shishpal and his family have become much more aware about overall cleanliness, and they participate in all activities pertaining to this in their village.
Authors: Naveen Pratap Singh and Ellora Mubashir
(Naveen is program lead, Agricultural Development and Ellora is communications specialist, Partnerships, at S M Sehgal Foundation)