Kathan Gram Panchyat became an ODF village in just three months

In the rural tribal areas of Rajasthan, more than 90 per cent of the population do not have a toilet. Kathar Gram Panchyat, an area of seven remote villages and 1,160 households, became free of open defecation in just three months. Change is possible. It is possible even in the most hard-to-reach areas and among the most vulnerable sections of the population. The joint efforts of children and women were the key drivers that made this happen.

Building toilets is easy. Attitudes and habits are more deeply ingrained. The village of Kathan Gram Panchyat deployed a new tactic: before and after school, children patrolled the area with whistles and reported villagers who did not use the new toilets. Together, the village imposed sanctions on people who did not comply. This ensured that people learnt the new practices.

And the village of Kathan Gram Panchyat is not the only one. Thanks to UNICEF’s results and state aid, equivalent projects are underway all over Rajasthan and elsewhere in India.

So change is truly possible.

Pictures ©UNICEF/India 2015/Haru