(GIST OF YOJANA) Role of Behaviour Change Communication in Achieving A Swachh Bharat [FEB-2018]

(GIST OF YOJANA) Role of Behaviour Change Communication in Achieving A Swachh Bharat


Role of Behaviour Change Communication in Achieving A Swachh Bharat

For the past four decades several rural sanitation programmes have been introduced in the country by different governments over the years. From one of India's safe sanitation in rural areas with the Central Rural Sanitation Programme in 1981 to the reconstructed Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) in 1999, to the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan, we have seldom seen the kind of mass mobilization created by the Swachh Bharat Mission in the country. The largest sanitation programme in the world, the Swachh Bharat Mission has left its construction driven counterparts behind, and moved towards a community-based mass first efforts to provide movement.

Making his landmark announcement on October 2,2014 from the Red Fort the Prime Minister called for a Swachh Bharat and successfully
guided India towards an exceptional adventure Since 2014, we have witnessed a near doubling of percentage of households with toilets, with a whopping 6 crore toilets having come up at the household level in just 3 years, going from 39 percent in 2014 to over 76 per cent today. On the sanitation front, India has achieved in three years what we have not achieved in 67 years post independence! This has resulted in rural areas of seven States (Sikkim, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh Uttarakhand, Haryana, Gujarat, and Arunachal Pradesh) and two Union Territories (Chandigarh and Daman & Diu) having become Open Defecation Free (ODF)

The Swachhagrahis adopt a direct approach to trigger public sentiments during village meetings. Surveys and meetings are conducted through master trainers in all districts, in the Community Approaches to Sanitation (CAS) Programme. This is where villagers are made to realise that the toilet is critical by evoking emotions and engaging different drivers of human behaviour, such as love for one's family, care for one's children, pride in one's social status, esteem in society etc. From evoking emotions of disgust or maternal instincts to pressing upon dignity, safety and health, villagers are encouraged to build toilets themselves, and use them continually.

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Most often the 'triggering' does directly ask villagers to construct a toilet but it is through such explorative questioning that they are made to introspect and realise for themselves, that constructing and using a toilet in their homes is the best option for them and their families. An example of this is the Swachhagrahi asking a simple question like "how much does a person excrete at a time?" And the options are given 200 gm to 400 gm; 400 gm to 600 gm; or more than 600 gm. As most people answer 500 gm per individual, then a family of five would excrete 2.5 kg of faecal matter at one time. Four families excreting that amount would come to 10 kg of faecal matter being left out in the open, which is carried and deposited onto everyone's food through flies. This way of participative quizzing has a hard hitting impact on the villagers.

The case of vanar sena and other examples like it has established that identifying Champions from within the communities is a better motivator and influencer than a top-down chain of command. In this method, the community gets a sense of unity and are mobilised together to achieve their goal of an ODF village.

In the Swachhta Hi Seva' fortnight in September 2017, a total of over 9 crore individuals came together in their respective communities and undertook shramdaan for Swachhata, pledged Swachhata Shapaths, wrote essays and made paintings and films on cleanliness. Inspiring such a spike in citizen engagement serves as a platform for the way forward. The fortnight witnessed massive support with celebrities holding cleanliness drives, the hockey team undertaking a clean up drive in Bangalore and political leaders inaugurating cleanliness drives across the country The Indian Cricket Team also joined the movement by taking up spot clean ups and recording short videos on Swachhata, which were aired during the televising of their matches. This heightened momentum gave way to a new normal, thus, inculcating an upward curve in community participation and consequently, in the progress of SBM-G.

Sanitation in a diverse country like India encompasses a number of factors which are important determinants for the success of the mission. In order to address such factors, which makes achievement of safe sanitation a very complex exercise, the Swachh Bharat Mission gives substantial flexibility to States to devise their own action plans. These plans include but are not limited to running campaigns in regional
languages, use of local folk artists as influencers or even customised toilet technology solutions for senior citizens and the differently abled.

It is integrated and innovative approaches like these which are playing a pivotal role in putting sanitation and cleanliness on the top of
everyone's mind in rural India. And behavior change communication does not stop with achievement of ODF, but continues even post ODF to ensure sustainability. Nigrani samatis in ODF villages performing regular morning follow-up is a common sight. The real success of the behavior change efforts is minimizing slip-backs in the long run.

As the Prime Minister has articulated time and again, achieving and sustaining ODF status is the collective responsibility of the entire nation; it is everyone's business. The Swachh Bharat Mission has caught the imagination of the people, and with everyone getting involved, is for the people and by the people. In less than three years, over 30 crore rural Indians have started accessing toilets. The Mission is moving rapidly towards a achieving a Swachh and ODF Bharat by October 2, 2019, a fitting tribute to the Mahatma on his 150th birth anniversary.

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Courtesy: Yojana