Sunday, June 21, 2015

Dalit girl severely beaten up after her shadow falls on high caste muscleman

In a shocking incident, a minor Dalit girl was allegedly thrashed by higher caste women in Ganeshpura village here after the victim’s shadow fell on a muscleman belonging to their family, police said today.

The incident took place on June 13 and the complaint was also filed on the same day at Gadi Malhera police station, Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP), Neeraj Pandey said.

According to the complaint lodged by the girl’s father, the problem began when his daughter was fetching water from a village hand pump and her shadow fell on muscle-man Puran Yadav (belonging to a higher caste) when he happened to pass from there, the ASP said.

The episode enraged the family of the muscle-man to such an extent that the women of the family severely beat the girl and threatened that if she was spotted again at the hand pump, they would kill her, he said.

Yadav’s family also prevented the victim from going to police station, but they somehow managed to reach there. A case under sections 323, 341, 506 of the IPC has been registered against the accused and further investigation is underway.

In several remote pockets of India, where untouchability is still prevalent, people from the lower caste are forbidden to come in contact with those belonging to the higher rung so much so that they can’t share their food, cook for them or even look them in the eye. It is even forbidden for their shadow to fall on higher caste people, who consider it as defiling or polluting.


Andhra Pradesh collaborates with World Toilet Organisation for sanitation project

Singapore-based World Toilet Organisation is partnering with Andhra Pradesh to embark on a project worth 1.8 billion Singaporean dollars, first of its kind in India to build toilets for six million homes in the state by 2018.

World Toilet Organisation, a non-profit organisation, would design low-cost toilet units and sewage systems, and carry out educational campaigns to change the image of toilets and raise awareness of the importance of good hygiene.

 Jack Sim, founder of World Toilet Organisation in 2001, is optimistic and driven by the goal of "making the toilet the happiest room in India".

"I grew up in poverty in Singapore when sanitation was bad and I saw Singapore improve in every aspect, including cleaning up the Singapore River and improving the sewage system," said Mr Sim, a former businessman turned full time volunteer.

Mr Sim, dubbed 'Mr Toilet', was appointed by Andhra Pradesh as co-convenor of the project.

"This gives me confidence that what we've done in Singapore can be transferred to Andhra Pradesh. The idea is to have people feel a sense of ownership over their hygiene and toilets, so that when we build them they will actually be used," The Sunday Times quoted Mr Sim as saying.

He also noted the central government support for the project, driven by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's emphasis on creating a 'clean India'.

Andhra Pradesh's legislative speaker and the toilet project convenor Kodela Siva Prasada Rao was in Singapore with other state officials to meet Mr Sim yesterday.

The toilet project with World Toilet Organisation is the first of its kind in India, added Mr Kodela, who hopes that Andhra Pradesh will become an example for the rest of India.

Mr Kodela hopes the toilet project with the World Trade Organisation will get the ball rolling and noted that Singapore has many practices on maintaining cleanliness that his state can learn from.

"Singapore has come up from a small village, and we take it as a role model," he said.


Saturday, June 20, 2015

Indian city encourages citizens to use public toilets... by rewarding a rupee

Somewhere in the slums of Ahmedabad

The Indian city of Ahmedabad is planning to pay citizens a rupee, which is the equivalent of 1p, for using public toilets.

In hopes of deterring people from defecating in the street, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) wants to reward those who use the city's public restrooms.

The municipal government got the idea from Nepal, where it was first successfully implemented in Darechowk in Katmandu. 

According to the Times of India, the city plans to pay for the idea by generating advertising revenue promoting the campaign.

Additionally, those who don't adhere to the new guidelines and pee on the streets will receive a large fine.

'We are going to implement this project because people… are found defecating in the open,' said an AMC standing committee chairman Pravin Patel. 

'Some even defecate on footpaths and pose a major public health risk. Our move will encourage people to use public toilets and AMC officials will also explain their family to do the same.'

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Good news for youth employment as colleges pledge to adopt sociology of sanitation

By MASEMBE TAMBWE recently in Darbhanga, Bihar State

STUDENTS from all corners of the globe including Tanzania who want to solve the sanitation problems of the day will now have better opportunities to do so thanks to the acceptance of the sociology of sanitation as a sub-discipline of sociology by a number of Indian tertiary institutions.

More employment opportunities for the youth

In recent years, the importance of sanitation in countries like Tanzania has been more pronounced where in 2012, the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare started implementing a pilot project in three districts of Dodoma with funding from the Global Sanitation Fund as well as launching a national campaign
Renowned international sanitation guru and the propagator of the teaching of the sociology of sanitation, Dr Bindeshwar Pathak told Wash Fair that already a university in Bhavnagar in Gujarat has introduced this subject as a part of sociology course at graduate level and others are sure to follow.

“When I started advocating for the inclusion of this subject into sociology in 1985, back then I received a lot of resistance from experts saying that first it was impossible to teach it and later that was no curriculum and manuals, these hurdles have now been overcome,” he explained.

The sociology of sanitation is a scientific study to solve society's problems in relation to sanitation, social deprivation, water, public health, hygiene, ecology, environment, poverty, gender equality, welfare of children and empowering people for sustainable development.

Dr Bindeshwar Pathak (center) traditionally being received by his host, the L.N. Mithila University Vice Chancellor, Prof Saket Kushwaha and his wife at their home in Darbhanga district, Bihar State
Dr Pathak said that 30 years down the road, seven teaching manuals have been published and several others are in their final stages of publication. He said that the inclusion of the subject means that more employment opportunities will be made to those who choose to take up the subject.

Sinha Institute of Social Studies in Patna, Bihar State in India specialist in political and rural sociology, Prof Nil Ratan who contributed to the writing of the manuals said that the subject will have 100 marks out of 600 and will have five units on the introduction, relation between social institute and sanitation, environment and sanitation, society and sanitation and on the Sulabh movement in India.

“The Sulabh movement in India has been added because of the immense achievements that this NGO has made to India but also it is something that other nations with similar sanitation challenges can emulate. The two pit latrine technology is not patented and can be adopted in these places,” he explained.

Maharaja Kameshwar Singh Palace Darbhangan
During a recent workshop held in Darbhanga district of Bihar State at the L N Mithila University, the Vice chancellor Prof Saket Kushwaha said the university is taking steps to include sanitation as a subject in the next academic session.

In 2013 a national conference on sociology of sanitation was organised in Delhi where sociologists from around the country proposed that the new sub-discipline should be implemented at the theoretical, empirical and action level.

The conference recommended that the primary objective of the discipline was to achieve total elimination of open defecation (easing oneself in the open and not in toilets) and empowering of disadvantaged communities.

The Secretary of the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Mr Pankaj Jain said during the closing of the conference that NGOs of the calibre of Sulabh International were needed to be in the forefront of promotion of sanitation.

Mr Jain said that it gravely saddened him that India was rapidly inching towards becoming a superpower with the highest levels of technological advancements, some of the best doctors yet it accounted for over 60 per cent of the global population that defecate in the open.

Children urge world leaders to include them in push on water, sanitation and hygiene

Some 60 children and young people told the International High Level Conference on Water for Life that the world’s youth must be fully engaged in the effort to bring safe and sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene to the most disadvantaged.

In their Call to Action, children from 12 countries attending the two-day conference urged world leaders to listen to their views on what they considered their most pressing issues.

“All children have the universal right to water and sanitation,” said Kamila Muhabbatova, a girl from Tajikistan during a speech in the presence of the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.

“Despite progress, many children have been left behind in the push to reach the Millennium Development Goals. These children represent the poorest and most vulnerable populations, and must be a priority in the post-2015 development agenda,” she said. “We emphasize the importance of involving children and young people in establishing priorities pertaining to water, sanitation, and hygiene. And, we stand committed to be active partners in achieving these goals.”

Sanjay Wijesekera, UNICEF's Global Chief of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), welcomed the Call to Action.

“These children are sending a clear and important message: ‘Listen to us and let us do this together’. These issues affect them, not only at home, but in their communities and schools,” Wijesekera said.

“Adequate water, sanitation and hygiene is vital to the future of our world and these young people know it,” he added. “Without those basic rights, diseases devastate them, leaving them ill and wasted, cutting into their time in school, lessening their chance at a good education – and indeed their very chance of survival. We must do better for them.”

The children hailed from host country Tajikistan, as well as Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bolivia, Brazil, Kyrgyzstan, Romania, South Korea, the Philippines, Ukraine, USA and Zambia. Prior to the Conference, they took part in a Children’s WASH Forum organized by UNICEF and the Government of Tajikistan.

The Children’s WASH Forum, from 6-8 June, provided opportunities for the young participants to improve their advocacy skills in the matter of children’s access to water, sanitation and hygiene. The Forum aimed to help children contribute to the global discussions on the issue, and advance the goal of giving WASH access to all children, everywhere – at home, in communities, at school, and during disasters – and so achieve the planned Sustainable Development Goals.