RAJJO BAI and her family of Rahul Nagar slums are far healthier and happier people these days. And they are proud too.
They are one of the 142 families in the slum that has achieved the distinction of being one of the first two urban slums in the entire State to have achieved the ‘open defecation-free’ status, meaning that each household in the slum now has a lavatory facility that is being used by residents.
The Rahul Nagar and Shanti Nagar slums with 108 families are the two slums where the construction of lavatory at each household has been completed as part of the Slums Environmental Sanitation Initiative (SESI) project under the Water for Asian Cities Programme of UN Habitat and Asian Development Bank (ADB). The project is being run in four major cities of the State –Bhopal, Gwalior, Jabalpur and Indore.
In Bhopal, the Water Aid India and Bhopal Municipal Corporation are also supporting the local NGO partner Aarambh for implementation of the programme in 17 selected slums (with total of 5038 population) that were identified as having poorest drinking water and sanitation conditions. The programme was launched in December 2005 and recently the Rahul Nagar and Shanti Nagar slums achieved the total open defecation-free status.
Talking to the Hindustan Times, Aarambh secretary Anup Kishore Sahay said that the main objective of the programme is to upgrade the water, hygiene and sanitation infrastructure in slums with maximum community participation.
He said that as the initial step, Community Water and Sanitation Committees (CWASCs) and women self-help groups (SHGs) were set up in the localities to ensure local motivation. Then to prepare learning ground for the community, five demonstration toilets each were constructed in all 17 slums. The Rahul Nagar and Shanti Nagar slums were taken on priority because of the worst conditions there.
Discussion with and orientation of the community over a period of time ensured that people were motivated enough to agree to contribute 50 per cent cost of low-cost lavatories (Rs 1000 per household) and manual labour for the construction.
The material was provided to them free of cost. The representatives of Aarambh, local corporator and officials of the project regularly visited the slums to encourage and motivate the residents. After the construction was completed, awareness sessions were conducted to emphasise the importance of using toilets – mainly from and security (for women) point of view.
- Residents of Rahul Nagar locality put in manual labour voluntarily to construct household lavatories.
- Rahul Nagar and Shanti Nagar slums are the two localities where the construction of lavatory at each household has been completed
- Water Aid India and Bhopal Municipal Corporation are supporting the local NGO partner Aarambh for implementation of the programme in 17 selected slums