Remember when we were always told to wash our hands before and after our meals, and after using the toilet? Remember, the last time you went for a road trip, and flinched at the sight of the open toilet, or the open field you had to temporarily use as the toilet? Well. that’s the daily regime of over 50% of our population which, defecates in the open.
LEAF Society has dedicated itself towards promoting safe and hygienic sanitation practices in some villages of Tamil Nadu. LEAF currently implements its projects with the help of ARGHYAM ( learn more about the association at its website: www.arghyam.com).
On World Toilet Day, which is celebrated on November 19 every year, LEAF organised hygiene training among various schools in Namakkal district. Children were trained on how to use ‘ Hygiene Dairy’ designed by LEAF Society, which uses Psychological techniques of Positive Addiction. This is a simple tool, which stimulates children’s behavioural patterns to adopt basic seven personal hygiene habits on a daily basis. Till now, we have distributed about 12,000 ‘Hygiene Dairies’ which are being used in 12 districts of Tamil Nadu. LEAF also celebrated the day along with students of two schools in Namakkal District, Tamil Nadu. More than 2000 children participated and a new toilet complex was also inaugurated in one of the schools with the donation received from ex students. This was one of the programmes organised by LEAF Society and was a huge success.
We have conducted a mass sensitization on the need of toilets, importance of personal & menstrual hygiene, hand wash, etc. This was one of the huge programme organised by LEAF Society.
LEAF Society also celebrated Global Hand washing Day on 13th October, 2013. LEAF conducted a hand washing demo to sensitize and educate students on the benefits of hand washing. LEAF Society strongly believes that, making children to adopt safe sanitation and personal hygiene practices will have strong influence on their behavior patterns. It creates positive traits & culture of hygiene & sanitation among school children. The demo was held in schools of around 20 panchayats, and almost 3000 children were covered.
Another milestone in the list is the construction of thousands of toilets without mobilising any external sources of funding. LEAF society constructed several toilets in various districts of Tamil Nadu by converging both MNREGA and NBA (Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan).
CREDIT for CREATING HYGIENE ASSETS is one our more innovative projects. LEAF Society with support from NABARD bank, Government of India, launched the project. NABARD sanctioned Rs. 15 lakhs for LEAF Society to construct 150 household latrine units in rural villages in Namakkal district of Tamil Nadu.
We have also promoted Women’s Water & Sanitation Society’s in 10 villages through which, the women are motivated to promote an exclusive savings for creating hygiene assets like toilets, bathrooms, water connections, rainwater harvesting structures, incinerators, sanitary napkins, etc. These women societies are practicing savings and thrift exclusively for hygiene and are also building individual toilets for rural habitations. Based on the performance of LEAF Society, NABARD bank of India sanctioned a loan of Rs. 15 lakhs for LEAF Society. LEAF Society is in the process of increasing marginal family’s investments on hygiene assets and willing to create healthy, happy and dignified living conditions for children and women.
LEAF has also launched village level sensitization campaign in many rural villages. These campaigns were mainly to sensitize and motivate communities on safe sanitation & drinking water practices, solid & liquid waste management, reduction of open defecation, village and environmental sanitation.
LEAF Society believes that ‘habits die hard’. LEAF has tried to inculcate safe and healthy practices in children, we believe that children can be used as ‘messengers of change’ and can bring about positive behavioural and attitudinal changes in the society. This we aim to achieve through our many campaigns and IEC material for children. We have designed certain plays, games, trainings and tools for children towards safe sanitation practices. These games and tools are being used by children in day to day life.
If you want us to continue our progress in the field and encourage us, please share our blog articles and Facebook page among your community to spread the word.
Submitted By: Ekta Handa
Ekta is a Mass Communication graduate from University of Delhi and is currently pursuing a diploma in Spanish language. An avid reader, she loves reading fiction and is a Content Development intern for LEAF Society.