Sanitation

Back to the real world

Prof. Jajoo and his team, now much confident that they had found a solution and armed with this low cost, durable toilet model once again set out on the road of making the idea of ‘one toilet/one house’  a reality. In the village of Pimpalgaon, these model toilets were introduced and the assessment of this experiment was done over the next 12 months. On seeing the success of this model, they approached the village of Karanji Bhoge, where willingness for 100 % coverage was found, as Prof. Jajoo felt that anything short of 100% coverage would doom the project. With this in mind, they began to outline the finances for the project. They decided that these toilets would be financed based on-

The villagers had to contribute part of the cost as per their capacity which was defined on the basis of irrigated landowners, rain fed landowners and landless labourers. Some part of the contribution would come from the Jawahar Yojana fund, a Government funding mechanism provided to the  Gram Panchayat, based on decision made by the village governance- the Gram Sabha. The rest of the financial support was to come from the “Wardha Plan”- a government supported scheme for development in Wardha district.

Hallmark of the project

sanitationThis financial model ensured that the village community felt a sense of ownership and stake in the project, took responsibility and it created self-esteem. The complete support of the stakeholder community in a completely apolitical manner helped achieve 100% sanitation coverage for the village.

The entire logistics for construction of every toilet in the village was entirely taken over by the involved villagers. It was based on a just and equitable contribution from the beneficiaries. They all collectively worked to distribute the construction material, effectively supervise the work, and make arrangements for voluntary labour force.

Working shoulder to shoulder for a common good, ended up unifying the entire village for a good cause and self-upliftment. This helped cultivate a support system by prioritizing the construction for the poor and ensuring that the facilities reach the poorest of the poor within the village.

The lessons learnt

  • People are wise, it is we the literate ones that should be humble enough to assimilate the socio-economic reality of their life before preaching to them.
  • The Gram Sabha has the resources at their command with autonomy to utilize them. Development can be achieved by credible agencies by seeking the partnership from the Gram Sabha.
  • A strict code of conduct for decision making based on consensus paves the way for organizing people and evolving people leadership in the villages.
  • Organizing people beyond partisan politics is an empowering experience.
  • The concept of contribution according to capacity curbs the tendency to beg, sows seeds of the concept of equality of human beings, makes the beneficiaries conscious of their rights, improves accountability and ensures quality.

Impact

Till date, a total of 6000 toilets have been constructed in 23 villages with 100 % coverage in 13 villages.

 In Prof. Jajoo’s words,

 The experiment laid down the road map for any community development activity :-

           a. Identify the felt need

           b. Develop the appropriate technology

           c. Urge people to sink their differences and create the culture of coming together for a noble cause. 

           d. Seek people's participatory partnership 

           e. Let people's contribution be graded according to capacity  

Epilogue

The Governor of the state of Maharashtra inaugurated the one house/one toilet model in Karanji Bhoge in 1992. This model found acceptance from the state and the central government, which took it up and replicated this concept in other districts throughout Maharashtra. Sadly, as the state government stepped in, the whole project fell apart in many other places where it was implemented, as none of the lessons learnt in the original experiment were implemented by the state government.

The resounding success of the efforts under the leadership of Professor Jajoo and his team and the abject failure of the government sponsored efforts, shows that experiential learning and educational sharing, the twin philosophies on which the foundation of holistic rural health was laid, made the difference in the outcomes. View More Images