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Community led initiatives in water, sanitation and hygiene (WSH) were on display at the CFAR stalls in the recently concluded two-day Kishori Mela at Shilpgram in Jaipur, Rajasthan. CFAR was among the 30 NGOs that participated in the Mela. More than 1500 adolescent girls from different schools of Jaipur were part of the crowds that came to the Mela which was a part of the One Billion Rising Campaign.

Held on 9-10 February, the Mela was aimed at creating and spreading awareness around menstrual hygiene, livelihood and educational opportunities and health issues among adolescent girls and boys. Although the Mela addressed serious issues, street plays, singing and dancing made for a festive mood at the venue. Lessons on self-defense and health camps formed part of the Mela.

Visitors to the two CFAR stalls were given information on its many community-led initiatives such as the twin-pit toilet technique, conversion of insanitary toilet to sanitary toilets, solid waste management and waste segregation at source. Samples of eco-friendly, reusable cloth sanitary napkins as well as compost from waste were on display. These were in much demand among the visitors.

The twin-pit toilet technology and making manure from waste impressed many. Ms Kavita Mahavar, a resident of Jawahar Nagar basti felt that many people would want to adopt the twin-pit toilet technology as it was economical and doable. This was echoed by Mr Pradeep Joshi who said the technique would prove to be very useful in slum areas of Rajasthan.

Social activist, Dr. Meeta Singh and Ms Ginny Srivastava were of the opinion that making manure as a part of sanitation project was a good initiative and required to be scaled up. Besides, it was an easy process and any woman could make it at her own house.

Mr. D. K. Bose, Trustee, CFAR found the Mela a good platform for showcasing the community initiatives of CFAR and the organisation could take part in it every year. He said it was encouraging to see the response to the products such as manure from household waste and cloth sanitary napkins. However, it was important to impress upon people the benefits of the cloth reusable sanitary pads against other menstrual absorbents available in the market.