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Jaipur, Sept. 20: Experts participating in a half-day programme and students' rally at Rajasthan University here today laid emphasis on bringing about a sustained behaviour change in the local communities to achieve the target of making the villages, towns and districts Open Defecation Free (ODF) in Rajasthan. The harmful impacts of open defecation on people's health and children's nutrition was highlighted during the event.

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  1. 1. 1 INTRODUCTION The President of India, Mr. Ram Nath Kovind, has launched a nationwide sanitation campaign “Swachhta Hi Seva” (Cleanliness is Service) on September 15, 2017 and administered the Swachhta Hi Seva pledge whereby the nation has resolved to create a clean, healthy and new India. The President has said that the nation is fighting a decisive battle for cleanliness and hygiene and cleanliness is not the responsibility of sanitation personnel and government departments alone. It is a multi- stakeholder national movement. The Swachhta Hi Seva has been envisaged as a fortnight, ending on Gandhi Jayanti on October 2, 2017, as part of the Swachh Bharat Mission, which is aimed at achieving a clean and open defecation free India by October 2, 2019. The objectives are generating demand for toilets leading to their construction and sustained use by all household members, promoting better hygiene behaviour among the population and improving cleanliness by initiating solid and liquid waste management projects. In the last three years, under the Swachh Bharat Mission, 48,264,304 toilets were constructed. The number of Open Defecation Free (ODF) villages reached 2,38,966 and the individual toilet coverage increased from 42% in 2014 to 64% in 2017. Five States have declared themselves ODF and the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation has said that the progress achieved is encouraging to reach the goal of an Open Defecation Free India by October 2, 2019.
  2. 2. 2 The Swachh Bharat Mission represents a national movement with diverse stakeholders comprising of Union Ministries, State Governments, local institutions, non-government and semi-government agencies, corporates, NGOs, voluntary organizations and the media. This approach is based on the Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi's call that Swachhta has to be everyone’s business and not only that of the sanitation departments. A host of special initiatives and projects have come out in quick time. The Inter-Ministerial Projects included Swachhta Pakhwadas, Namami Gange, Swachhta Action Plan, Swachh Swasth Sarvatra campaign, School Sanitation drives, Anganwadi Sanitation drives, Railway Sanitation etc. The inter-sectoral collaborations included Swachh Iconic Places, Corporate Partnership, Inter Faith Cooperation, Media engagement and Parliament engagement. Swachhta Action Plans were developed by 76 Union Ministries and departments and web-based portal was developed to monitor progress and highlight implementation status. Women Swachhagrahis were appointed and Swachh Shakti Awards were instituted to further enhance women involvement with the program. The success of Swachh Bharat Mission has made a big difference to the lives of village communities, as they have accessibility to sanitary toilets in their own households and do not have to travel distances in the dark to relieve themselves. The health risks of open defecation have also been greatly reduced by having a toilet in the house.
  3. 3. 3 The Prime Minister has called upon the nation to create an environment of cleanliness in the entire country so that the coming October 2, the third anniversary of the Swachh Bharat Mission and Gandhi Jayanti, can be celebrated in a befitting manner. During his “Mann Ki Baat” address on August 27, 2017, he called upon the people and urged all non-government organizations, schools, colleges, social, cultural and political leaders, corporates, government officials, Collectors and Sarpanches, to accelerate Swachhta activities during the September 15-October 2 period, when the Swachhata Hi Sewa campaign is operative. The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation shall be launching soon a section on wherein people, after constructing their toilets and undertaking other Swachhta-related activities, can register their name and the name of the beneficiary family, whom they helped. In view of the significance attached and a high priority accorded to the Swachhta Hi Sewa campaign as a nation-wide movement, the UNICEF-Rajasthan Field Office has decided to focus on environment cleanliness and Open Defecation Free Rajasthan in the true spirit of the campaign. As part of its activities to promote the ODF status, the UNICEF collaborated with the Centre for Mass Communication (CMC), Rajasthan University, for organizing a students' rally on the university campus and a “Sankalp Sammelan” where the participants would suggest strategies and action plans for achieving total sanitation and take a pledge to adopt and promote the cleanliness
  4. 4. 4 habits in their surroundings. The UNICEF's collaboration with CMC over the last three years has already yielded huge results. The university is leading the way forward for assessing the need and reviewing the curriculum on development journalism for post- graduate students. Additionally in the process, the partnership has also been able to develop a learning module for mid-level and senior Media Practitioners as well as for Faculty Development Programme. More than 25 universities have been associated in this mammoth task and has brought together the academia and media practitioners to dialogue and carve out a guided pathway for responsible reporting and ethical development journalism. The CMC, which has been primarily engaged in teaching post-graduate programmes, has entered into a partnership with UNICEF-Rajasthan since 2015 and it has turned out to be a most appropriate collaboration to initiate, mobilize and carry forward the dialogue and deliberations on the essence of development journalism and its way forward. During various consultations, the CMC was successful in bringing together the country's senior-most academicians and practising journalists as well as senior editors and media professionals to make a significant contribution towards finalizing the development journalism curriculum and planning of lessons for media students, faculties and the mainstream journalists. This initiative has enabled them to contribute towards quality and ethical journalism, especially on the issues of social concern
  5. 5. 5 affecting the marginalized sections of society and farmers, peasants and labourers. A development journalism course module has been evolved through this partnership. It has complete lesson planning and referencing with the potential for integration into the ongoing curriculum of mass communication and journalism, especially in the paper on development journalism at Rajasthan University and other State and Central Universities across the country. The partnership with UNICEF has been instrumental in initiating and facilitating establishment of the much-valued coalition on development journalism. It has successfully generated a dialogue to promote development journalism among the media practitioners, especially journalists and stringers working at the grassroots, and academicians. The CMC has also involved policy makers in its discourses on healthy practices in journalism. A series of workshops and round table conferences have been organised during the last three years with the focus on evolving an effective course curriculum in order to promote the practice of development journalism in the media by influencing both the policy makers and grassroots journalists. An emphasis has been laid on developing strategies and implementation tools for development communication, which can be taken up for orienting both students and practising journalists. The capacity building and training of media persons on ethical reporting and promoting development journalism started with an All India Media Educators' Conference organized in Jaipur from April 2 to 4, 2015. It was followed by the Second All India Media Educators' Conference held at Amity University, Jaipur, from April 22 to 24, 2016. Since 2015, a number of seminars, conferences and other events were organized in Jaipur, which strengthened the partnership between CMC and UNICEF. A “Dialogue on Development Journalism”, organized on February 2, 2017, helped in creating an interface with the policy makers and those in the media education for making a long-
  6. 6. 6 term impact on the relevant aspects of development journalism education. The discourses of all these events were placed before the policy makers and academic management for a review of the courses presently available. Though the initial focus was on the universities in Rajasthan, the discussions were later initiated on a wider scale to suit the requirements at the national level. After the successful completion of the previous events, a three-day residential workshop was organized in Jaipur for the mid-career journalists to build up their capacity for reporting on the subjects of development journalism. The CMC in a collaborative partnership with UNICEF-Rajasthan invited a group of about 30 media professionals from leading news organizations mostly from the small towns of Rajasthan and facilitated a comprehensive learning and experience sharing exercise for them during the three days of the workshop from August 12 to 14, 2017. The editors of different media organizations also deputed two journalists each to participate in it. After the completion of the first workshop in Jaipur, a similar workshop was organized for the second batch of media persons in Jodhpur on August 25 to 27, 2017 and thereafter a seven-day-long residential workshop was organized for the media students in Jaipur from September 8 to 14, 2017.
  7. 7. 7 The half-day event on “Swachhta Hi Seva: Swachhta Yuva Diwas” was planned for Wednesday, September 20, 2017, in the shape of a rally with the participation of students from the university, other colleges, NSS, and NCC, which was to be followed by a Sankalp Sammelan to share the progress of the efforts of the Swachh Bharat Mission in Rajasthan. The distinguished persons comprising the Rajasthan Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Minister, Mr. Rajendra Singh Rathore, Vice- Chancellor of Rajasthan University, Prof. R. K. Kothari, political representatives, government departments, teachers and students from colleges and university and international organizations and civil society organizations were invited to the programme. It was planned that the programme would end with a pledge taking ceremony to use the lessons learnt in Swachh Bharat Mission and join together to sustain a better behaviour for sanitation. STUDENTS' RALLY ON UNIVERSITY CAMPUS A large number of participants, including the students of CMC and other faculties and departments of Rajasthan University as well as the students of NSS and NCC and other colleges in the city, such as the Veer Balika Mahila Mahavidyalaya,
  8. 8. 8 gathered outside the Manviki Peeth Auditorium in Rajasthan University on September 20, 2017 morning for observing the “Swachhta Hi Seva: Swachh Yuva Diwas”. Apart from the students, others who assembled on the occasion were the Head of CMC, Prof. Sanjeev Bhanawat, and other faculty members, functionaries of different departments of the university, UNICEF Communication and Advocacy Specialist Ms. Suchorita Bardhan and other Specialists Ms. Manjari Pant, Mr. Nanak Shivdasani and a large number of print and electronic media persons from different newspapers and television news channels. It was an occasion for jubilation as well as taking a pledge to keep the surroundings clean and inculcate a habit of adopting sanitation, while completely rejecting open defecation. The rally was also an occasion to send across the message of Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) which has emerged as a credible method of doing away with open defecation and achieving the ODF status in developing countries. Amid the crowd of rallyists, there were some professional singers who entertained the participants through their inspirations songs and slogans and kept them focused on the theme of the rally. The Vice-Chancellor of Rajasthan University, Prof. R. K. Kothari, was welcomed at the venue with the presentation of a stole and his presence was described
  9. 9. 9 as an inspiration for the participants, mainly the students, who could take up sanitation in their daily routine along with the academic pursuits. As Prof. Kothari flagged off the massive rally at the Manviki Peeth, other disting uished persons also joined him in showing the sign to the participants through the movement of flag. The flag carried the emblem of Swachh Bharat Mission and the slogans for Swachhta Hi Sewa. With the students holding banners and placards in their hands and raising slogans generating awareness on the subject of sanitation, the rally wound its way through the roads in the university premises. The logos on the banners had a special significance as the ODF mission in Rajasthan was branded ‘Swachh Rajasthan’ with an exclusive logo that people could easily associate with. Following this, districts developed their own logos and taglines using local words that conveyed the intent of the mission. The logo and taglines are consistently used in all IEC activities. Chokho Churu, Banko Bikaner, Garwilo Mewar, Jagmag Jhalawar, Ujiyaro Baran are some examples of branding done by DSMs. In many cases, these logos are painted on the walls of toilets as recognition of the efforts made by households and inspire others to have them painted on their walls too. The rallyists stopped over briefly in front of different departments and faculties while raising slogans and proceeded towards the CMC building. Along with them, a
  10. 10. 10 sound system was travelling in an auto-rickshaw and the slogans and songs were being sung on the microphone. The banners and placards carried by the participants had the slogan and mottos such as “Ghar Banwaya Kitna Sundar, Shauchalaya Na Ghar Ke Andar” (A beautiful house built, but no toilet inside), “Sab Rogon Ki Ek Hi Dawai, Ghar Mein Rakho Saaf Safai” (A single medicine for all ailments, keep cleanliness at home), “Jab Ham Ghar Se Door Shauch Ko Jaate, To Makkhi, Pani, Hawa Se Mal Ghar Mein Laate” (When we go for defecation away from home, we bring back faeces with flies, water and air), “Ham Sabne Milkar Hai Thana, Gaon Ko Hai Swachh Banana” (We have all resolved, we will make our village clean), “Rajasthan Ki Avashyakta, Jan- Jan Ki Swachhta” (Need of the hour for Rajasthan, cleanliness of each and everyone), “Mera Gaon Saaf Ho, Ismein Sabka Vikas Ho” (Let my village be clean, this involves development for all), “Sau Bigha Hai Ghar Mein Kheti, Bahar Shauch Ko Jati Beti” (Even though a household has a 100-bigha farm, its daughter goes for open defecation), “Shauchalaya Ki Baat Nirali, Izzat Ki Karta Rakhwali” (Toilet plays a unique role, it protects dignity), “Rozi-Roti Khet Hamare, Inmein Tatti Karo Na Pyare” (Our fields give us livelihood, don't defecate in them) and “Ghar Angan Mein Ho Shauchalaya Nahi Rahe Koi Shanka, Chher-Chhar Aur Bhay Ki Na Ho Koi Ashanka” (When we have toilet in our household, there is no threat of harassment or fear).
  11. 11. 11 The rally finally ended at the CMC building in the university premises, where regular classes are held for the journalism students. The participants gathered at the front lawns of the building, where the theatre artistes and activists from the State Resource Centre invited them to watch and participate in a presentation on the community triggering process for promoting the ODF concept through the Community- Led Total Sanitation (CLTS). The CLTS focuses on community-wide behavioural change, rather than merely toilet construction. The process raises the awareness that as long as even a minority continues to defecate in the open, everyone is at risk of disease. CLTS uses community-led methods, such as participatory mapping and analyzing pathways between faeces and the mouth, which if faecal-oral transmission of disease, as a means of teaching the risks associated with open defecation. A tool called triggering is used to propel people into taking action and this takes place over a day with a team of facilitators. This aims to cause disgust in participants, and the facilitators help participants to plan appropriate sanitation facilities. Using the term “Tatti” (shit) during triggering events or presentations, rather than faeces or excreta, is a deliberate aspect of the CLTS approach, as it is meant to be a practical and straightforward approach rather than a
  12. 12. 12 theoretical or academic conversation. The CLTS is an approach to achieve sustained behaviour change of people who participate in a guided process of triggering, which is intended to lead to spontaneous and long-term change of social behaviours, in particular the abandonment of open defecation. The concept originally involved mainly provoking shame and disgust about poor sanitation in order to bring about change. It has been further developed since then by applying the lessons learnt from large scale applications in different rural and urban settings, focusing more on the aspects of pride. The demonstration of the triggering process left a deep and indelible impact on the young participants in the rally, who realized the enormity of the subject of open defecation. They participated actively in the exercise and replied enthusiastically to the questions posed by the artistes. All of them took a pledge on the spot to promote cleanliness in their daily lives and never indulge in open defecation. Refreshments and breakfast given to the participants on the occasion, after they were tired after long walk in the blazing sun, filled them with a renewed energy to take part in the activities during the second half of the event. It was pointed out at the end of the massive rally that Rajasthan has made a rapid progress with regard to sanitation coverage since the launch of Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin in October 2014. The sanitation journey in Rajasthan is dotted by several important milestones, including being a pioneer in adopting the district wide approach, developing and implementing standard operating procedures for SBM, electronic fund transfer to make direct payment to the beneficiary accounts for greater transparency and fluidity, and most of all adopting innovative ways of catalysing a
  13. 13. 13 community led movement for social and individual behaviour change. The State has effectively supported this movement with policy level interventions to create an appropriate enabling environment for the realisation of the vision of a Swachh Rajasthan. The measures taken by the State Government have helped in streamlining the ground level processes. Districts have also taken initiatives at their own levels by issuing further guidelines and circulars to guide the implementation and monitoring processes and to resolve contextual problems. Apart from strengthening the ground level cadre, parallel initiatives have been undertaken engaging PRIs, panchayat secretaries, DRGs and vendors. Standard Operating Procedures were simplified for DLOs and BLOs. At the same time, masons were trained on the viable technical option of the twin- leach pit model and were also oriented on the advantages of ODF. This measure was an important step in the direction of ensuring self-reliance in terms of promoting the right technology. A strong monitoring system was put in place using in- person reviews at all levels as well as by using social network and video-conferences.
  14. 14. 14 “SANKALP SAMMELAN” AT SENATE HALL After taking part in the impressive rally on the university campus, all the participants assembled at the Senate Hall, situated adjacent to the Vice-Chancellor's Secretariat, where all important dignitaries were also invited. As part of the event's second half, a “Swachhta Hi Sewa: Sankalp Sammelan” (resolution conference) was organised in the Senate Hall, where the chief guest was the Rajasthan Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Minister, Mr. Rajendra Singh Rathore, and the guest of honour was the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. R. K. Kothari. An important aspect of Mr. Rathore's presence in the function was that he was earlier a student of Rajasthan University and also the president of Students' Union. After the rendition of Rajasthan University's anthem, the UNICEF Communication and Advocay Specialist, Ms. Suchorita Bardhan, welcomed Mr. Rathore by presenting a stole to him. Stoles were also presented to Prof. Kothari and the UNICEF-Rajasthan Field Office Chief, Dr. Isabelle Bardem. The CMC Head, Prof. Sanjeev Bhanawat, started the proceedings by highlighting the partnership of CMC with UNICEF during the last three years and its impact on the entire discourse on development journalism training, education, courses
  15. 15. 15 and curriculum. He pointed out that the half-day event on “Swachhta Hi Sewa” had added a new dimension to the cooperation between the two institutions. The experts participating in the programme laid emphasis on bringing about a sustained behaviour change in the local communities to achieve the target of making the villages, towns and districts open defecation free in Rajasthan. The harmful impacts of open defecation on people's health and children's nutrition was also highlighted during the event. The speakers threw light on different aspects of ODF campaign and suggested the strategies for ensuring its success. One of the most positive features of the ODF campaign in Rajasthan is the voluntary participation by political leaders across party lines. Sanitation has been taken up by public representatives in their meetings and forums at all levels. This has contributed in creating a positive environment and in establishing sanitation as a public issue rather than a political issue. The State Government has also accorded high priority to the emerging technology related issues. Apart from seeking guidance from the national mission, the State Government is exploring technical support options from within the State. One such initiative is the pilot testing of bio-toilets. Prof. R. K. Kothari said in his address that sanitation should be adopted by all sections of society as a habit, as the physical cleanliness had a direct connection with intellectual and spiritual cleanliness. Sanitation should be made important part of
  16. 16. 16 personality, he said and added, “If we are aware and make sanitation a regular habit, there will be no need to observe a particular day or campaign.” He pointed out that cleanliness was a very wide subject and had religious significance as well as physical, intellectual and spiritual aspects connected with it. He said Mahatma Gandhi had made salutary efforts for promoting cleanliness and the Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi had taken a pledge to make the national clean and free of open defecation by Mahatma Gandhi's 150th birth anniversary in 2019. This would be possible with the active cooperation of all sections of society, especially the students and youths, he said. Prof. Kothari's address was followed by the exhibition of a short film titled “The Dawn of Sanitation Revolution”, which has been produced by UNICEF. The film showed the initiatives taken in various districts of Rajasthan for achieving the ODF targets and highlighted the impact of cleanliness drive on the lives of people living in the far-off areas. It showed an 80-year-old woman, Mango Begum, hailed as a role model in the local community and the vision of Chief Minister Ms. Vasundhara Raje for declaration of the entire State as open defecation free by 2018. Scaling up of sanitary practices and people's involvement were some of the important elements of the sanitation drive exhibited in the film. The audience watched the short film of 10-minute duration with a keen interest and praised the message for cleanliness conveyed by it.
  17. 17. 17 In her insightful address, Dr. Isabelle Bardem, the UNICEF-Rajasthan Field Office Chief, said Rajasthan had made a significant progress in the reduction in under- five-year children's mortality and drop-out of school-going children during the last 10 years. Similarly, against the access of 27.3% households to sanitary toilets in 2012 in the State, 87% households have sanitary toilets built in the houses in September 2017, she pointed out. Dr. Bardem said the ODF campaign had become a mass movement in Rajasthan with the government's support and the people had realized that the major underlying cause of disease and malnutrition was the habit of answering the call of nature in the open space and fields without regard to proper cleanliness. “Stopping open defecation will restore dignity of women and protect them against harassment and sexual offences,” she said. Dr. Bardem said she had worked in different countries for the last 20 years, but she had witnessed the change of such a large scale for the first time in Rajasthan. UNICEF was working hard in the State in the areas of children's morbidity and malnutrition, she said, while calling upon the participants to also initiate a dialogue with the communities on the significance of washing hands with soap as a method to maintain cleanliness and avoid the spread of infection and disease.
  18. 18. 18 Mr. Rajendra Singh Rathore said in his inspiring address that the sanitation drive taken up by the State Government would only be complete with the participation of the youths. “With the oath of the youths for cleanliness, Rajasthan will lead in sanitation in the country by next year,” he said, while calling upon the participants to take up sanitation in the State as a movement, led by the youth power. He affirmed that Rajasthan was making a fast progress towards achieving the ODF targets and said that six districts had so far been declared open defecation free, while 10 more would be given the ODF status by December this year. “Of the 9,851 village panchayats in the State, 6,375 have been declared open defecation free,” he said. Mr. Rathore said the women too an important role to play in achieving the ODF status for their villages and towns, as the subject was directly related to their own dignity. “Charity begins at home,” he remarked, while appealing to the people of the State to construct toilet at their home without fail. Mr. Rathore administered an oath of “Swachhta Hi Sewa” to the participants and all of them stood up and took a pledge to contribute to making a new, clean and healthy India and dedicate themselves to the cause of cleanliness during the movement being taken up from September 15 to October 2, 2017. The oath, administered in Hindi language, was as follows: “I hereby solemnly resolve that I will dedicate myself completely to the “Swachhta Hi Sewa” people's movement being observed from September 15 to October 2, 2017, for making a clean, healthy and new India. Under this movement I will: - Promote cleanliness at home, school, college, health centre, railway station and bus stand, ponds and other public places.
  19. 19. 19 - Contribute to making the villages and towns open defecation free by rendering help in the construction of toilets with two pits for myself and for the people who are unable to make its arrnagement. - Participate in the behaviour change by using toilet, washing my hands and adopting other habits of cleanliness. - Promote the solid and liquid waste management by adopting the principle of “reduce, recycle and reuse.” After the oath taking, the dignitaries released a UNICEF publication titled “ODF: Journey of Rajasthan” which has stated the progress of sanitation drive in the State and listed out the future stragies and challenges in the work. The book covered the period since the beginning of the government's programmes till March 2017, while pointing out that over 55% of village panchayats and 18% of the 295 blocks had attained ODF status. The districts which attained ODF status by this time were Bikaner, Ajmer, Churu, Jhunjhunu Pali and Chittorgarh.
  20. 20. 20 At the end of the function, it was time for the participants to relax and listen to some inspiring and melodious songs. Singer Liaquat Ali of the “Sa Re Ga Ma” fame presented a song dedicated to Swacch Bharat Mission and thereafter sang a popular number from the Hindi movie “Upkaar”. The half-day programme came to an end with the presentation of mementoes to the guests. While Prof. R. K. Kothari presented a memento to Mr. Rathore, Ms. Suchorita Bardhan presented a memento to Prof. Kothari and the Lok Samvad Sansthan Secretary Mr. Kalyan Singh Kothari presented a memento to Dr. Isabelle Bardem.
  21. 21. 21 As the participants dispersed from the Senate Hall for high tea, there was a consensus that the desert districts in the State were facing some common challenges in executing the ODF drive and in attaining sustainable use of toilets. Ensuring toilet use by communities in remote desert areas still remains a challenge especially since farming families live on their farms in makeshift houses for the length of the agriculture season. Sustainability is also challenged in areas that face genuine water scarcity and are not covered under rural water supply schemes. Success is unevenly spread across the state but it is evident that the lagging pockets are progressively fading away. In terms of aggregate statistics, some districts have more to cover than others. The districts were already at different stages of progress when the intensified ODF campaign started two years ago. However, unlike the past sanitation programmes, the focus on use of toilet is very high across districts. Moreover, the District Santiation Missions are aware of the bottlenecks they face and are finding ways to overcome them. The sanitation journey in Rajasthan is progressing well at the moment and it is important to keep the momentum high in districts. Evidence elsewhere shows that most slippages happen within a few months of initial success. It is therefore important for
  22. 22. 22 districts to have a separate follow-up plan for villages and panchayats which achieve ODF. Besides, technological soundness must be guaranteed so that the toilets remain usable without causing any environmental hazard in the long run, felt the participants. MEDIA COVERAGE The media coverage of the “Swacchta Hi Sewa: Swachh Yuva Diwas” programme was an indication to the significance attached by both the print and electronic media to the event on the Rajasthan University campus. The Sankalp Sammelan in the Sentate Hall was telecast live on Zee-Rajasthan and ETV-Rajasthan news channels and it was allotted the prime slot by other television news channels in view of its significance for the viewers in general and the policy makers, government authorities, and non- government organizations in particular. Other television channels which telecast news about the event included Doordarshan-Rajasthan and OK-India. Extensive news stories on the programme, along with big photographs, were published in the Hindi and English newspapers on the next day, depicting the interest shown by media persons in the coverage of the event.
  23. 23. 23 BEHAVIOUR CHANGE NEEDED TO STOP OPEN DEFECATION: EXPERTS ‘Harmful impacts of the practice should be highlighted’ Sanitation experts here on Wednesday laid emphasis on bringing about a sustained behaviour change in the local communities to achieve the target of making the villages, towns and districts Open Defecation Free (ODF) in Rajasthan. The harmful impacts of open defecation on people’s health and children's nutrition should be brought to their notice, they said. The occasion was the State-level inauguration of “Swachhta Hi Sewa: Swachh Yuva Diwas” on the Rajasthan University campus here. State Rural Development Minister Rajendra Rathore said six districts had so far been declared open defecation free, while 10 more would be given the ODF status by December this year. ‘Onus on youth’ “Of the 9,851 village panchayats in the State, 6,375 have been declared open defecation free,” Mr. Rathore said. The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan would succeed if the youth
  24. 24. 24 adopted it as a movement, he added. UNICEF-Rajasthan chief Isabelle Bardem said that against the access of 27.3% households to sanitary toilets in 2012 in the State, 87% households had sanitary toilets built in their premises till this month. “Stopping open defecation will restore women's dignity and protect them against harassment and sexual offences,” she said. A massive rally of the university and college students was organised on the campus and the theatre artistes staged a presentation on the community-led total sanitation process. The event was organised jointly by UNICEF and the university's Centre for Mass Communication.
  25. 25. 25