We are godliness surplus, but cleanliness deficit country: Jairam Ramesh on Nirmal Bharat Yatra (Mega campaign on Sanitation and Hygiene in India)

New Delhi, Sept. 28, 2012: Sanitation is in limelight again. Jairam Ramesh, Minister for Drinking Water and Sanitation, on Friday September 28, 2012 announced a 51-day Nirmal Bharat Yatra. The yatra would travel through five states and reach nine crore people spreading awareness about sanitation facilities and practices. The Yatra would begin from Wardha in Maharashtra on 3 October and would travel to Indore, Kota, Gwalior and Gorakhpur before culminating in Bettiah, Bihar on 19 November.                                     


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Union Minister for Drinking Water and Sanitation Jairam Ramesh said, “We are godliness surplus, but cleanliness deficit country. We have to change this and the Yatra tries to make sanitation a national obsession.” Exuding confidence that India would become open defecation free in next 10 years, he also declared that Kerala would become open defecation free by the end of this year, while Himachal will achieve the target by April 2013. Haryana and Tamil Nadu will follow next.


The Yatra, which would resemble a carnival, will have a crew of 500 people traveling in 40 buses who would engage the locals through various activities and performances. The aim would be to make people aware about the benefits of using a toilet, washing hands after using the toilet and menstrual hygiene management.


Actor Vidya Balan, who was also present during the launch, released three video advertisements on sanitation, which would go on air the day Yatra takes off. One of the videos appreciates the concern of a bride who revolted against her husband for not having toilet in his house. Commenting on the ads, Vidya said, “We’ll have to inspire more and more people to make their individual contribution and make the country open defecation free.”


Around 60 percent of all open defecation in the world takes place in India and nearly five lakh kids under the age of five die every year because of diarrhea. To address the adverse affects caused due to open defecation by promoting toilets, the government of India launched a program called Total Sanitation Campaign in year 1999. After only partial success of the programme till recently, it has now been launched afresh as Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan with increased central government’s assistance for construction of toilets. (Source: Prakhar Jain, Tehelka.com)


The Nirmal Bharat Yatra (The Great WASH Yatra): Mega Campaign on Sanitation and Hygiene in India


The Nirmal Bharat Yatra is an initiative which is supported by the Government of India's Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan (NBA) and Eawag. The Yatra will visit various rural locations in India and will travel to five states where sanitation is vital. The Yatra will be passing through six towns and villages on its way, and aims to reach around 90 million people.


The Yatra will start on Oct. 3 in Wardha, Maharasthra, and will end on World Toilet Day, Nov. 19 in Bettiah, Bihar. Minister for Drinking Water and Sanitation, Sri Jairam Ramesh, will travel for 30 days during this yatra. It is also sponsored by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, GIZ and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


WASH United, a Germany-based non-profit company which seeks to promote good hand hygiene and sanitation, has teamed up with innovation agency Quicksand India to address the sanitation crisis in India by organizing 'The Nirmal Bharat Yatra’. The Yatra is conceived as a mega-event specifically focused on sanitation and hygiene, which will be a fun and interactive awareness-raising and advocacy platform.


For the yatra WaterAid will be implementing a Toilet Lab. The Water Supply & Sanitation Collaborative Council will be implementing a menstrual hygiene management lab whereas India Water Portal will be helping in media and communications outreach. There will also be a 45-75 day fellowship program during the Yatra that is designed for socially conscious and creative individuals. They will work within Yatra team to create unique, innovative output that will help spread the message to the world.


About WaterAid Toilet Lab
The toilet lab would be part of the exhibition which will be put up in six locations during the WASH United yatra. The toilet lab will be in the allotted area space of 200 sq ft (20 feet by 10 Feet rectangular exhibition stall with an entrance and a exit) which will consist of various toilet models,  posters and flexes with messages on Sanitation and hygiene, a Microscope for showing biological contamination,  a LCD TV for showing various short films on Sanitation. 


Along with the toilet area space, WaterAid will also explore a space of 6 feet X 6 feet based on the feasibility to put a live demonstration of a building a Toilet (A toilet which will be constructed stage wise using local materials), so that the public who comes to the exhibition would a feel of how a toilet would be constructed. 


Along with the exhibits, various games are planned like Snake and ladder, spot quiz, street play etc would be conducted primarily for the students visiting the toilet lab and exhibition.  These events would be primarily conducted at the performing area of the exhibition which is a common area to the exhibition.
In addition to these, WaterAid also plans to take a pledge from the visiting public and students through a signature/hand print campaign on kora white cloth in each of the locations and the entire signature/hand prints from various places will be displayed at large at the final venue of the Yatra.


The Yatra will harness the positive power of the things Indians love most - Bollywood, dances, songs, but above all cricket - to positively influence the perception of sanitation and hygiene. It will feature a mix of rides, event stages, movies and thematic tents on WASH issues. In this Yatra, there will be labs that promote hand-washing at proper times of the day, menstrual hygiene management, and ending open defecation. It will also implement a WASH in schools' programs, where the yatra will touch approximately 8-10 schools in each location and promote hygiene and sanitation for kids in a fun and friendly way via games and singing and dance competitions.


The Yatra Route:


Yatra stops                                 Event Dates
Wardha, Maharashtra            October 3-4 2012
Indore, Madhya Pradhesh      October 14-15 2012
Kota, Rajasthan                    October 22-23 2012
Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh        October 31-November 1 2012
Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh      November 9-10 2012
Bettiah, Bihar                       November 17-19 201


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