Pashchim Champaran, Bihar

About the initiative 

Megh Pyne Abhiyan in partnership with Water Action is executing a peoples’ centered, driven and owned alternative secure sanitation, personal and menstrual hygiene management process and facilities in Poorvi Tola, a flood prone hamlet of Rupaulia village of West Champara district in Bihar. The initiative is being supported by Stockholm Environment Institute, Sweden and Wash Institute, India

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Rationale

 The rationale behind this endeavor is to facilitate field based interpretation of contextual, and adoptive framework of alternative secure sanitation through creation of a congenial social environment that stimulates cooperative action, accountability and innovation. The secure sanitation framework  involves  the followings

  • Action research to facilitate or establish appropriate sanitation solutions for flood prone villages

  • Collective identification and acceptance of alternative sanitation solution to ensure egalitarianism through Village Development Committee (VDC) for men, women and adolescent girls and children

  • Introduce and promote the concept of open defecation free (ODF) community

  • Concept and practice of safe reuse (human excreta and urine) to be introduced and promoted in conjunction with agriculture

  • personal hygiene and menstrual hygiene management (MHM) to be embraced and addressed

  • Promoting safe sanitation amongst school children

  • Linking sanitation with livelihood

  • Inter-linkage with local, state, national and international actors for enhanced understanding, acceptance and inclusion of secure sanitation framework for flood prone areas

 Profile of the hamlet

 To execute the framework (which includes the concept, processes and technology) of alternative safe sanitation (through ecological sanitation aka phaydemand shauchalay), Poorvi Tola Rupaulia, Rupaulia panchayat, Gaunaha block has been identified. The hamlet is homogenous community belonging to Kushwa caste with a total of 37 households. The hamlet has a total of 24 handpumps (21 personal and three government), 20 thatched houses, 12 weather-tiled houses and five Indira Awas Yojana houses and one dugwell, one private toilet and a private primary school (1st – 5th class) catering to 60-70 children from near by hamlets (Poorvi tola, Oraon tola, Semari Dumari, Harkatwa, Naya tola – Manguraha, and Parsa)

 It is located north of the district headquarter (Bettiah) at a distance of 70 kilometer (kms) and 2 kms west from Gaunaha block headquarter. The hamlet is 15 kms south of Indo-Nepal border. Primary school is at a distance of 1 km west in Rupaulia village, whereas health sub-centre, railway station, post office, high and middle school, bank, and local market are located 2 kms east in Gaunaha.

Process

Burmi tola has been identified for executing the safe sanitation work because of the following reasons.

  • Flood prone hamlet affected by annual flash floods due to Aamhawa, Chhegrahawa and Pandai rivers

  • Pervasive unhygienic environment due to rampant open defecation during and post floods

  • Sensitivity towards sanitation (largely triggered by the migrant population within the hamlet) exists within the community but due to other pressing financial commitments the issue never gets reflected as a priority

  • Households have adequate individual space for setting up toilets (eight households have limited space, which requires further innovation in the design)

  • All households have kitchen garden and agricultural land, which can be utilized for safe reuse of human excreta and urine (eight households have no space for kitchen garden)

  • Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) has not been executed in the hamlet

  • Women and adolescent girls in the hamlet have to regularly confront distress relating to accessing sanitation facility on a daily basis. This has forced them to show interest towards solution/s for which they are prepared to contribute (to the best of their ability) towards developing access, which qualifies as an owner driven initiative

  • Poorvi tola (due to community’s interest and realization concerning safe sanitation) can have a definitive impact in hamlets with similar problems

  • Definite consideration for the inclusion of this community in the project was triggered by the presence of villagers with past experience of handling and using human excreta for agricultural purposes, with the prospect of utilizing their past experiences for future gains

 There is already a functional relationship that has been established between local partner organization of MPA – Water Action and the community, panchayat and block administration. The organization has been active in the region since September 2009, and has developed understanding of the existing problems relating to drinking water, sanitation and agriculture through field based research and demonstration.

 The intention is to promote secure sanitation, personal hygiene and MHM in all the 37 households and school in Burmi Tola.

The initiative will

  • Demonstrate techniques that suffices the ecological, functional, behavioral and operational needs and takes care of the practicalities of its use and maintenance during and post floods. Effort will be made to demystify technologies/techniques for safe and long use

  • Establish the concept of ecological-village in flood prone area of north Bihar by promoting ‘ecological-farming’ through re-use of humanure and further strengthening the community’s persistence of keeping the hamlet hygienic

  • Result in enhanced consciousness amid the hamlet about hygiene and sanitation and its secure practices triggered through community dialogue and interactions

  • Curtail open defecation

  • Promote sanitation and personal hygiene practices amongst teachers, students and concerned family members in school by constructing a toilet and urinal and disseminating its information and benefits

  • Create a strong linkage with local perception and adaptability by developing sanitation utility through available local skill sets

  • Endorse the argument that sanitation ought to be perceived and addressed keeping in view the local opportunities, constraints, geo-hydrology, nutrient returns, increased agricultural production and less morbidity and mortality

  • Facilitate

    • Collaboration with state and district level officials of Public Health and Engineering Department (PHED)

    • Health authorities, school authorities

    • SEI and WASH

    • Sensitization of peoples’ representatives; district, block and panchayat level officials; civil society, religious entities and migrant population

Update 

A total of 21 phaydemand shauchalays have (beneficial/productive toilets aka eco-san) been constructed in Poorvi tola and  26 temporary urinals (for urine harvesting to be used in kitchen garden and agriculture). Additional 15 phademand shauchalays will be soon completed. This project is supported by Stockholm Environment Institute, Sweden and Wash Insitutite, India.
On March 17, 2013 a training program at Poorvi tola, Rupwaliya panchayat in Pachchim Champaran was organised  on urine harvesting and its use and it was imparted by the villagers of Poori tola. The training program was organised by Water Action and Megh Pyne Abhiyan in collaboration with the district administration of Pashchim Champaran and Agriculture Technology Management Agency, Agriculture department, Government of Bihar. This entire initiative was hugely promoted and supported by Chintan Raj, Prime Minister’s Rural Development Fellow, Pashchim Champaran.
Three hundred farmers from 12 blocks of Paschchim Champaran district participated in the training program. The training program had the following components
  • The participants visited all the 26 sites of urine harvesting through local technology being implemented in Poorvi tola
  • The participant along with the officials assessed the impact of urine use in all the 26 sites
  • Three case studies out of the total of 26 urine harvesting and use in Poorvi tola was presented by the three respective farmers
  • School children shared their experience of urine harvesting with the participants
  • The government officials along with the participants visitied the phaydemand shauchalays that have been constructed in the tola. Total of 21 shauchalays have been constructed and the remaining 15 will be done soon. The District Magistrate also inaugurated one of the toilets and few children from the tola painted the same toilet as well
  • Out of 300 participants, 143 of them were provided with the urine harvesting tools. As the kits fell short, they were provided with funnels and balls
The training program was also attended by District Magistrate, Zila Panchayati Raj Officer, Deputy Collector, Deputy Director ATMA, Bettiah, Sub-divisional Magistrate, Narkatiyaganj, District Coordinator of Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan, Pramukh and Up-pramukh Gaunaha, BDO and CEO Gaunaha, DSP Narkatiyaganj.
As a follow up strategy, the Deputy Director of ATMA, made the Subject Matter Specialists (SMS) responsible for furthering the issue of urine harvesting and use. The District Magistrate, with an agriculture background reinforced the effectiveness and importance of use of urine in agriculture.
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