Bhubaneswar (19/11/2023): All participants gathered at a meeting held here on Sunday to observe the World Toilet Day (WTD) underlined the need for raising awareness and inspiring action to tackle safe sanitation and water access, with the focus on climate resilient sanitation service and practices.
The event was jointly organised by Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) and Centre for Advocacy and Research (CFAR). The CFAR organised simultaneous events both in Bhubaneswar and Jaipur, Rajasthan to celebrate the World Toilet Day.
Addressing the gathering, BMC Mayor Sulochana Das in her keynote address called upon city dwellers to adopt three-pronged strategy-proper usage, correct practice and delivery and behavioural change-to avoid water shortage, prevention of disease and maintaining individual dignity as toilet ensures dignity of all. She further emphasized that as Climate Crisis looms large a time has come to make everything climate resilient and enable everybody to undertake adaptations that make WASH practice and service resilient.
She thanked Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for laying the foundation of inclusive WASH, thereby ensuring involvement of SHGs, Transgender community and community at large in the delivery of safe sanitation service
She concluded by stating that "BMC has developed decentralised solid waste management at door steps, mechanized desludging, grey water management and BMC received FICCI award for managing faecal sludge and septage management.
All the credit goes to the community," she added and appreciated the contributions of CFAR in strengthening WASH system and practices.
While delivering the Special Address, BMC Additional Commissioner Suvendu Kumar Sahoo spoke in the occasion & told that CFAR is one leading partner who works in close collaboration with BMC and organises different people led events.
He appealed to community to manage and maintenance of community toilets in their area.
He also informed that currently in Bhubaneswar city close to 290 different toilets which includes public toilets, community toilets and smart toilets with approximately 1750 seats exists and close to 30 more public toilets are under construction.
He also informed that the State government has decided not to collect user fees in public toilets and urge people to end open defecation and build an open defecation free plus climate resilient city.
Delivering the keynote address, Belinda Costin, First Secretary Economic/Development, Australian High Commission, New Delhi said "Australia is very pleased to share our strong partnership with the Government of India on water resource management and water and sanitation.
The Australian Government, through our implementing partner the Centre for Advocacy and Research (CFAR) is working with communities, water and sanitation authorities, and the governments of Jaipur and Bhubaneswar to improve sanitation and help build climate resilience.
CFAR is helping to build community leadership in Bhubaneswar to complement the Municipal Corporation’s efforts to end manual scavenging and scale up mechanised desludging across the city, including in informal settlements."
Addressing the gathering, former Dr.Bhaktakabi Das, said that this year's theme of the World Toilet Day, "Accelerating Chage' must be the guiding tagline for holistic WASH development to improve community health and spread awareness on safe sanitation.
UNICEF Programme Specialist, Risk & Resilience Omkar Oniel Khare,praised the BMC and Government for empowering the Transgender SHGs and enabling them to shape the safely managed sanitation service.
"With the support of CFAR, we transgender activist started a campaign on toilet for us- universal and inclusive toilet for transgenders and we have succeeded to some extent in introducing transgender-friendly public utilities," Third Gender Welfare Trust president Meghna Sahoo said.
She urged Mayor to plan for inclusive toilets in public places like bus stop, railway stations, cinema halls and offices
Meghna added that due to narrow lane, big cesspool vehicle does not enter into narrow lanes of slums.
That is why mini cesspool vehicles must be added to the fleet.
Ganesh Parida, Garima expert TSU stated that sanitation is urgent and we must quickly ramp it up.
SDA can monitor the sanitation value chain process from safe containment and proper usage of toilets, safely mechanized emptying of septic tanks to safe transportation of sludge to the treatment plant.
Bharat Kumar Lenka, Health and Sanitation Standing Committee, BMC expressed special thanks to CFAR for supporting SDA members in conducting participatory appraisal exercise and mobilizing to households for constructing climate resilient toilets.
A day in a Ward (Ward re dine) is conducting every month by BMC and it works like a monitoring committee.
Eminent Transgender Activist and SAKHA founder and advisor MUKTA, Meera Parida thanked CFAR for taking lead in promoting Transgender community and facilitating them to set up a Single Window to secure social entitlements and mainstream their issues including raise demand for gender non-conformal toilets to be setup.
She quoted NHRC guidelines in saying there must be provision for toilets for LGBTQ in every institution.
Transgender rights activist Asisha Behera suggested to develop trans inclusive toilets at community level and in public places.
Sanyashi Behera, Under-Secretary, SSEPD expressed heart felt gratitude to CFAR for supporting marginalized groups by conducting microplanning exercise.
He emphasised that ensuring accessibility to toilets and water points is most vital.
There is provision for 25% incentive for PwDs for constructing individual households’ toilets.
The World Toilet Day is an official United Nations International Observance Day on 19 November to inspire action to tackle the global sanitation crisis.
Worldwide, 4.2 billion people live without "safely managed sanitation" and around 673 million people practice open defecation.
Since 2013 people in different countries celebrating the day as mandated by the UN and the world body have called upon stakeholders to work collectively towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Goal-6- clean water and sanitation by 2030.
In keeping with the Theme for this year -Accelerating Change- CFAR joined hands with the champions in the community and WASH System shaping Inclusive and climate-resilient sanitation in Bhubaneswar.
To signify their contribution, CFAR had organised a weeklong campaign in support of transgender and women SHGs involved in income generation and managing sanitation service, uphold sanitary workers right to safety and dignity and enabled adolescent girls to advocate for gender-inclusive and friendly toilets.
BMC officials and staff in different settlements, Wards and Zones joined the campaign along with corporators, SHG leaders, SDA and Sanitation Sub-committee members.
This campaign was launched by Deputy Mayor Manjulata Kanhar started in Ward 22 on 14 November from the Ward office with Transgender community leading from the front.
Prominent among the participants who spoke were Manoranjan Sahoo Team lead SBA cell BMC, Ashisa Behera, founder, Tarit Foundation , Rashmi Rekha Biswal of E & Y, Anjan Kumar Jena, Secretary, Core foundation, Alok Kumar Mohapatra, UMC, TSU- Garima, Purna Chandra Mohanty, Water Aid India, Swarnalata Sahoo, principal , Sayed Mamataj alli school spoke.
CFAR Executive Director Akhila Sivadas, CFAR joined virtually and pledged CFAR support to community, BMC and all partner organization to develop resilient WASH systems and service.
Samir Ranjan Das, State lead, delivered the welcome address and set the context.
An Audio-Visual Recap of Telling the Story of Transformation Shaped by the Community in Bhubaneswar was screened, sanitation champions and pioneers who strengthened the safe sanitation access were felicitated and a podcast on a dialogue between sanitation expert and SDA on safely managed and climate was presented.