Kicking it up a notch: Women in MP’s tribal district revamp toilets

The toilets have not just been built properly by women, but have separate bathroom, tiles, concrete roof and water tank.

bhopal Updated: Apr 07, 2018 16:05 IST
CB Singh
CB Singh
Hindustan Times, Alirajpur
Toilet,Madhya Pradesh,Swachh Bharat Abhiyan
A toilet-cum-bathroom built by the women of Badi Vankhad village in Madhya Pradesh’s Alirajpur district. (HT PHOTO)

In many places, toilets built under Centre’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan have been converted into shops, store rooms, and in some cases, they remain just small cubicles with a tin roof.

But in Madhya Pradesh’s tribal Alirajpur district, Badi Vankhad village in Sondwa block has a different story to tell. The toilets have not just been built properly, but have separate bathrooms, tiles, concrete roofs and water tanks.

Credit goes to the local women who took the extra effort, by pooling extra money, taking loans from self-help groups, (in addition to the Rs 12,000 given by government) and importantly, winning fights with the men of the house and society.

The work has inspired people of neighbouring villages like Achpai, Chikni, Umari and Gurma.

Retibai (29) of Meerabai self-help group in Badi Vankhad says, “We felt that our toilets should not be mere cubbyholes, like most of the toilets we saw around us. Also, taking a bath in privacy was equally important. So we talked and reasoned within our family and finally, the men agreed.”

There are 654 villagers and 12 self-help groups of women. Members of such groups were the first to make the better toilets along with the bathrooms, by taking loans from their self-help groups. Soon the trend caught fire.

Their efforts were hailed by Nicholas Osboard, head of UNICEF’s Clean India Mission, during his recent visit to the village.

Alirajpur collector Ganesh Shankar Mishra, too, appreciated what the women have done.

“It is really inspiring. The women played a crucial role in making the village ODF in July 2017 and their model toilets-cum-bathrooms are motivating women of other villages,” Mishra said.

First Published: Apr 07, 2018 16:05 IST