Organising awareness campaign on public sanitation

Equi-City Team moving forward with the objectives of the Project started formulating an Inclusive HR Policy for Nagpur Municipal Corporation mainly focusing on diversity and gender issues. The Inclusive Human Resource Policy will be one of the ways in Local Governance to overcome the problems of the people towards the Municipal authorities and also the problems faced by the people and Municipal authorities while communicating with each other

Poor sanitation in the city and the lack of hygienic practices affect the health as well as economics of the individual, community, city and the nation. Insanitary conditions and contaminated drinking water extracts a crippling toll on human health and the environment. In addition to the indignity suffered by those lacking sanitation facilities, they also suffer from diseases contracted through direct and indirect contact with pathogenic bacteria found in human excreta. Open defecation traps the family in a cycle of ill health, poverty and deprivation from basic hygienic ethics.

The Nagpur Municipal Corporation is a body for local administration and therefore its principal focus area is about the concerns of the citizen or the population of the diverse nature. Hence, to address the needs of diverse nature of the people in the city the Nagpur Municipal Corporation should be diverse in nature. Equi-City Team moving forward with the objectives of the Project started formulating an Inclusive HR Policy for Nagpur Municipal Corporation mainly focusing on diversity and gender issues. The Inclusive Human Resource Policy will be one of the ways in Local Governance to overcome the problems of the people towards the Municipal authorities and also the problems faced by the people and municipal authorities while communicating with each other.

The Equi-City Team also started developing the Equality Framework, which will directly benefit the Local Authority officials and its staff. Equality Framework develops more highly skilled workforce and better decision-making to create a stronger and more sustainable Local Authority and better outcomes for its citizens. Sensitized officials create harmony in the workplace and produce an equitable work atmosphere for people from all backgrounds and communities, especially, women, differently abled, transgenders, etc. Officials are better able to respond to citizens from diverse backgrounds and engage them in participatory dialogue and solutions. Speedy grievance redressal mechanism helps create a harmonious and equitable environment. Due to diversity practices, empowered officials exercise their rights in ensuring merit based promotion and equitable workplace.

The project will develop tools for promoting equality and diversity. This is required as the frameworks for promoting equality and diversity are missing and need to be put in place before any diversity issues are discussed. This project will then focus on promoting equality and diversity within Local Authorities through the diversity committee with a view to boost socio-economic inclusion more broadly and sustainably, as well as promoting human rights based on the principles of equality and non-discrimination. This is enabled through the development and implementation of diversity policy, creation of sub-committees, diversity and equality framework and sensitisation workshops.

With increasing pressure on urban local bodies to improve their performance in the provision of civic services, there is a great need to integrate modern management practices into public systems, drawing from the corporate sector.

Improvements in water supply and sanitation play an important role in reducing high levels of morbidity and mortality rate that prevail in poor societies of the city. Use of safe drinking water, improved hygiene and good sanitation practices have been proven to be essential for good health and the availability of water is a prerequisite for socio-economic development. There also exists a relationship between water, sanitation, health and development.

Communication is an important part of development. A successful advocacy begins with the identification of groups that need to be influenced, trained, and working out the best way to spread awareness. After organising a number of awareness programs last year, Equi-City has found that the people in the sector are now convinced that IEC is a necessary ingredient of effective sanitation and hygiene programmes. They accept that most sanitation-related problems must be tackled by the people in the villages and urban slums, who must be properly empowered and equipped to take actions themselves. Wide-ranging communication efforts have also contributed to this drive towards sanitation improvement and involve identifying, segmenting and targeting specific groups with particular strategies, messages and training. Municipal corporations and related govt. authorities must involve the community in planning and managing their own facilities and to make sanitation education effective.

Based on experience from earlier campaigns and programs following are some of the prominent points noted from the community:

  •  Half the respondents believe that, being a traditional practice, it is very difficult to stop open defecation.
  •  Others felt that it is better to stop open defecation for health and privacy reasons. When asked about the impact/effects of poor sanitation, over half cited that it caused poor health; while some felt that poor sanitation had an impact on the environment.
  • Majority of the respondents said that having a toilet inside the house is not good.
  •  Some of the people feel it is expensive to build a toilet. Half the toilets built inside the house were not in use. Some of the toilets are being used for storing firewood and a few use it as a bathroom. The reasons for not using toilets are lack of water supply, no pits, etc.

This clearly shows the importance of interpersonal communication and organising of awareness campaigns on regular basis so that people get familiar with sanitation and hygiene practices.

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