Source: e-Book on New Beginning released by the Prime Minister on Civil Services Day 2017
Bihaniya, which means clean morning in the local language. The initiative included going for morning visits to villages every Wednesday and Saturday to educate and motivate people on the benefits of using personal toilets.
Girl students from high and higher secondary schools were encouraged to form Kishori Baalika Sammelans. These young girls were educated regarding personal and menstrual hygiene in these sammelans. 180 of these sammelans were held to educate and explain the benefits of IHHLs and other aspects of women hygiene.
Mungeli is a newly formed District in Chhattisgarh with three blocks Lormi, Mungeli and Pathariya. It has 350 gram panchayats, 711 villages and a population of 701707. 25 % of the population is Scheduled Caste followed by 10% Scheduled Tribe. When Government of India launched its much proclaimed Swachh Bharat Mission, Mungeli District had a whopping 98,000 households lacking Indian House Hold Latrines (IHHL) along with 5,000 newly added families which totalled to a figure of approximately 103,000 IHHL which the District needed to construct and repair.
The State Administration launched a few innovative and radical schemes to create awareness and instil a sense of hygiene so that the residents feel encouraged to construct IHHLs. Officials like the collector, SDM, CEO Zila Panchayat and grassroots Officials such as Patwaris, Engineers or Gram Sachivs all came together under an initiative called ‘Sugghar”.
A Red Brigade was formed with a group of 15-20 adolescent school girls who voluntarily joined the movement. These motivated and enthusiastic girls took upon their shoulders the responsibility of educating the females, the children and the elderly regarding their contribution to the mission. This group rose every morning with a renewed vigour and covered each nook and corner of their locality talking to each and every person. Whistles were blown by the Red Brigade whenever they witnessed people breaking the rules and refusing to use toilets.
Also, 200 Swacchta Preraks or Cleanliness Motivators were trained intensively to carry out Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS). These swachhta preraks urged village inhabitants to quit defecating in open, explaining to them the health hazards of open defecation. Other volunteers were also involved through formation of Bihaniya Dals or Morning Groups who carried out an extensive follow up on the usage of newly constructed toilets and changing the toilet habits of people.
Last but not the least, the Vaanar Sena of young kids performed the amusing activity of snatching the bowls or lotas of the people defecating in the open. The strategy worked magnificently as individuals gradually started changing their attitude. The display of the names of the defaulters on the walls of Gram Panchayat and the imposition of fines further discouraged open defecation.
Most important of all, 106 engineers of all the work departments were trained intensively with special focus on toilet construction in local black soil regions, water logged areas and areas with high water tables.
The efforts bore stupendous success. Construction of approximately 1,07,000 IHHL has been carried out over a period of 9 months which includes baseline survey figure, toilets for newly added families and reconstruction of defunct toilets.
Who says hard-sell doesn’t sell?