Campaign for washing hands | india | Hindustan Times
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Campaign for washing hands

Nearly two million children die each year from diarrhoea-dehydration, one of the largest killers globally. Unfortunately the malaise affects most of the third world and India is particulary affected. The campaign aims to improve the environmental health condition of the people of India and in particular to reduce the incidence and transformation of water-borne diseases.

india Updated: Jul 10, 2003 19:21 IST
PTI

Every individual deserves to be protected from diseases and other health hazards posed by the poor disposal of excreta and human waste.

As water, sanitation and hygiene are entry points for poverty alleviation, integrated water resources management and sustainable development, Sulabh WASH (Water Sanitation Hygiene for All) Campaign seeks to bring together policy makers, community groups, artists, cultural activists, actors, playwrights, fashion designers and human right activists.

The Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) has launched this campaign to create awareness among masses towards use of safe and clean water. This campaign is being executed in India by the Sulabh International Social Service Organisation,a non-profit making outfit working to promote sanitation and prevent environmental pollution, critical components to a healthy and productive society.

The WASH Campaign is an effort to mobilize political support and action around the world to ensure better and proper use of water. The basic goal behind this campaign is "Water, sanitation and Hygiene for all". The Sulabh WASH Campaign is a concerted global advocacy effort by members and partners of WSSCC to place sanitation, hygiene and water firmly on the political agenda.

Sulabh is working with governments, NGOs and othersto propagate the message of WSSCC for the use of clean and safe drinking water. The aim behind launching of this campaign is to motivate common people towards proper sanitation. Through this campaign, a series of programmes have been designed to motivate people about the use of clean and safe water. Keeping in mind the alarming situation in India, it is the need of an hour to start massive campaign to mobilise people towards use of safe water, clean sanitation and hygiene at grass root level.

Advocacy: The Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council has been creating awareness and formulating a blueprint for action, and organising support through social mobilisation and its advocacy strategy. Its imprint can be seen in the milestones of the International Conference on Freshwater in Bonn, Germany in December 2001, the World Summit for Sustainable Development at Johannesburg in 2002, the 3rd World Water Forum in Kyoto, Japan in 2003 and the proposed WASH Global Forum Dakar, Senegal scheduled in 2004.

Objectives:The aim of the campaign is to improve the environmental health condition of the people of India and in particular to reduce the incidence and transformation of water-borne diseases. Access to sanitation facilities is a basic human right that safeguards health and human dignity. Every individual deserves to be protected from disease and other health hazards posed by the poor disposal of excreta and human waste.

Children, who are the first and the most vulnerable to fall prey to such hazards, deserve a better environment and the highest standard of living possible, (according to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, a treaty which has been ratified by nearly every country in the world). The Wash campaign is an effort to mobilize political support and action around the world to ensure an end to this suffering.

Needfor a campaign: The poverty sickness and death toll on these populations are shameful and scandalous in these times of relative prosperity. Many of those affected are impoverished women and children living in squalor in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Caribbean. Some countries in Eastern and Central Europe as well as in West Asia are also suffering in misery from lack of these basic facilities. Improper disposal of human waste is one of the developing world's most serious public health problem. The statistics are staggering: nearly two million children die each year from diarrhoea-dehydration (the disease has killed more children in the last ten years that all the people lost to armed conflict in World War-II).

The Indian Women: The health and social consequences or this deplorable state of affairs are especially harsh for women and girls: they pay a high price in terms of loss of dignity where there are no latrines, compelling them to wait until dark to defecate and exposing them to harassment and sexual assault. Lack of education due to the absence of school sanitation facilities, increases to their already heavy workloads and infections disease associated with the lack of water and sanitation.

The Organisation: Beginning from a small town in Bihar; Sulabh has become a familiar name in every corner of the country. Founded by Bindeshwar Pathak in 1970, Sulabh now works in many parts of the country with the help of a large workforce of over 50,000 committed social volunteers.

Sulabh has liberated so far 50,000 scavengers from the demeaning practice of physically cleaning and carrying human excreta. Sulabh has set up more than 5,500 pay & use community toilet complexes and about 10, 00,000 toilets in private houses, which together are being used by more than ten million people every day.