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World Health Day, April 7, 2021

# Building a fairer, healthier World # WHD-2021
World Health Day, April 7, 2021     



Collectively ensuring that everyone, everywhere, can realize the right to good health.

World Health Day is celebrated annually on April 7 and each year draws attention to a specific health topic of concern to people all over the world. The theme for 2021 is “Building a fairer, healthier world”.

Healthy lifestyle not only has financial benefits. It also helps human beings to effectively contribute to the economic wellbeing of society and growth of the Nation. However, COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted many lives and livelihood of people. Migrant workers, daily wage earners, small scale and medium scale industry owners as well moderate income HHs suffered a lot during this pandemic with loss of jobs and livelihoods.

Strengthening Prevention for All

The most severely affected in the crisis are the urban poor living in informal settlements. A majority of them lack social protection and quality health care services. Many of them and their family members also live with co-morbidities. The recent surge in COVID cases across the country has further accentuated their vulnerability and put them the risk of communicable and life threatening diseases and ailments

Community Leads the Way

Last year after the unlockdown process was initiated in phases, Centre for Advocacy and Research (CFAR) trained a cohort of 100 Master Trainers from the urban slums on COVID-19 protocols. The objective was to keep them informed about this new disease that had hit the world and build their capacities for fighting the virus by following the official protocols. This group, in turn, trained another cohort in their respective slums/habitats and residences so that authentic information was shared with the community and the areas could be kept COVID-19 free.  

The time has now come, once again, to strengthen the skills of these trainers so that they are able to protect themselves and the communities at large from the Coronavirus infection that has made a comeback after a showing a decline for a few months. While vaccination to protect against the infection is on, it is equally important that people take measures that are effective in protecting them, their families and their communities from Coronavirus.


On the occasion of World Health Day, Single Window Forum and Community Management Committee members, Frontline Line Workers, Swacchha Sathi, COVID Sachetaks, Slum Development Committee and Master Communicators will come together. Stakeholders present will include, officials from Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation, National Health Mission, Ward Officials, Zonal Officials and CSOs.

The community representatives will reach out to elderly, pregnant, lactating, single women, persons living with disabilities, men and boys to reaffirm their collective resolve to Leave No One Behind and take steps to prevent and protect each other from the onslaught of the mutant Coronavirus.

Master communicators will demonstrate correct techniques of handwashing, wearing masks, maintaining norms of social distancing, avoiding crowded and public spaces.

Information on COVID-19 vaccine will be disseminated by officials of National Health Mission

Activities-April 7, 2021

  • Door to door campaign on WASH and Health with folk dance troupe
  • Tribal dancers will educate public on personal hygiene and safety
  • Wall messaging and sloganeering on waste management by SWFM-CMC members
  • Reinforcing COVID Appropriate Behaviour by Master Trainers across 12 settlements
  • Take Your Selfie campaign with messaging on dealing with the pandemic

Organized by

April 7, 2021, World Health Day is being observed  as a part of the project, Water for Women: Mobilizing, Facilitating and Replicating Socially Inclusive WASH Initiatives in India’s Urban Slums, supported by Water for Women Fund, Government of Australia, implemented by CFAR in Bhubaneswar, India.

Door to door campaign on WASH and Health with folk dance troupe

Tribal dancers educated public on personal hygiene and safety

Wall messaging and sloganeering on waste management by SWFM-CMC members

Reinforcing COVID Appropriate Behaviour by Master Trainers across 12 settlements

Take Your Selfie campaign with messaging on dealing with the pandemic

Dr Debi Prasana Sahu UPHC

Rally on waste management by SWFM-CMC members

Getting children back to school in pandemic times

Bengaluru: The Centre for Advocacy and Research (CFAR) has helped bring children from poor families back to school in Bengaluru. The initiative is part of CFAR’s work to alleviate the impact of COVID-19, particularly on the poor and the marginalized.

CFAR is currently implementing a four-city social inclusion project for the urban poor in Bengaluru, Pune, Ajmer and Bhubaneswar. In Bengaluru, the project is being implemented in 48 slums across 7 Wards in the West Zone where Single Window and Help-desks which are mechanisms that connect communities to institutions and benefits and help mainstream socially marginalized urban poor communities. The seven wards include Binnipete-121, Subhash Nagar-95, Nagarabhavi-128, Nayandahalli-131, Chaluvadi Playa-138, Oklipuram-96 and Deepanjali Nagar-158 Bangalore urban district covering 1, 42,350 urban slum population. The project is being run in partnership with urban local bodies and key departments across the settlements and is being supported by the Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiatives and Azim Premji Foundation.

When the lockdown was lifted in September and November, we observed that many children were working as daily wage labourers in grocery shops, repair shops, street vendors and construction sites to support the family. As a result, many of them simply dropped out of school or discontinued schooling. The children were earning approximately Rs.100 per day which was a great support to the family. At the construction workers’ sites, we noticed that many children accompanied their parents to work and supported as helpers and earned money.

When the schools reopened, neither of the parents nor the children were prepared to go back to school as they had become earning members of their families and helped meet their financial needs. In one of the government schools, in Ambedkar Nagar of Nayandahalli-131 Ward with 1,100 households, we observed that out of 46 children, 23 were not going regularly to school while some had dropped out and had migrated back to their native places. That is when the CFAR team, supported by Help-desk members, reached out to school authorities and the parents to ensure that children returned to school and continued their education.

CFAR team prepared a list of children from various schools and with that list the Help-desk members and Single Window teams visited door-to-door and counseled parents. In the first instance, 22 children who had dropped out were re-admitted after counseling. As the intervention was scaled up, 28 Help-desk members reached out to and counseled around 865 parents on this issue.

We found that many of the children could not track the day they had to attend classes as the school was running on alternate days. They had no one to guide them as the parents would leave for work early in the morning. Since Help-desk members were located in the same settlement, they guided the children and ensured that they attended school regularly. The Help-desk workers also worked with school authorities to distribute food grains provided under the midday meal scheme.

The Single Window and Help-desk team worked closely with 15 government schools and one Government College. We collected a list of 1,290 children studying in sixth and seventh standards and 102 children studying in eighth to tenth standards and began to systematically work with the children to ensure that they attended classes regularly. A total of 865 parents were counseled by the Help-desk members. From January 2021 we also facilitated 78 children to update their Aadhar cards for their admission in the first standard. The Aadhar centres were set up in collaboration with E-Governance and Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) in the Single Window office functioning in a government building in Bangalore.


#Valuing Water# WWD-2021

World Water Day, March 22, 2021
Bhubaneswar, Jaipur

About World Water Day

The World Water Day celebrates water and raises awareness on the global water crisis. A core focus of the observance is to support the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030. World Water Day, is observed world-wide to understand what water means to people, its true value and how we collective can protect this vital life-saving resource.


In Bhubaneswar and Jaipur, communities living in urban settlements live with very frugal water resource. Access to safe and adequate drinking water is a challenge especially for women, elderly, transgender and persons living with disability. Even those who are receiving adequate water supply face concerns related to erratic provisioning, low pressure and depleted quality of water. Specifically, In Bhubaneswar, the devastation caused by climate change, including FANI and Amphan cyclone, and in Jaipur the torrential rains leading to flooding of kutchi-basti have further heightened the risks for those living in informal settlements. The issue of water further assumed greater importance in the context of COVID-19 with handwashing becoming a pre-requisite for prevention.

Community efforts to conserve and manage water

Against this background, in both cities, Single Window Forum and Community Management Committee members and community representatives have taken several steps both to use water judiciously and manage the distribution, storage and conservation to Leave No One Behind.

At the household level re-use of greywater collected from washing clothes, cleaning utensils is a common practice. This water is also used to wash courtyards and toilets, mop floors, wash cycles, water plants. At the community level, SWFM-CMC has facilitated innovative foot operated hand wash stations, ATM, water tanks, community toilets with PwD supportive design elements for the most vulnerable in accessible locations and supporting water testing to ensure safe drinking water.

On World Water Day 2021, in both cities SWFM-CMC, Male Forum and communities’ representatives came together to:

  • Demonstrate in different creative ways what water means for them and its importance in different settings – household, school, community toilet, and public spaces through cards, messaging, wall writing, games
  • Share their association with water using different creative forms- Rangoli, Cloth Paintings, Songs, Rally to name a few
  • Organize Water Dialogues- awareness meeting, exposure visit, training, public interface to share the efforts made by the community, support of stakeholders and steps to be taken to strengthen access to water
  • Document on video, photos, voices of positive community efforts on water reuse and conservation
  • Reaffirm their taken to conserve, reuse and plan water access for all


March 19, 2021: Day 1: Water Dialogues: Clean and Safe Drinking Water for All; Rangoli competition

Basti Vikas Ward Office 26

Single Window Forum, Slum Development Committee, Frontline workers, Single women, Elderly, SHG members interact with Mr Sabyasachi Behera, Piramal Sarvajal Pvt Ltd

Water ATM provides pure drinking water. Safe water is directly linked to our health and wellbeing. I appeal to everyone to keep the surrounding areas near the Water ATM clean is important to prevent any kind of contamination- Mr Sabyasachi Behera, Piramal Sarvajal Pvt Ltd

Water gives us life. All pregnant, lactating women, elderly should ensure that drink water only from the ATM located in this basti to prevent any health risks, knee and joint pains. All residents in this settlement must take steps to prevent any form of wastage of this precious resource -Jayashree Das

In earlier times we used to stand in long queue to collect water from the tube well. Now through our joint efforts every household received supply water. We have an ATM for drinking water. So, we must ensure that we use only clean and safe water to drink- Gitanjali Bagha, Single Window Forum


March 20, 2021: Day 2: World Water Day Campaign

Janata Nagar Ward No 21, 20 and 26

Jala Sathi, Mahila Aarogya Samiti, Anganwadi workers, Single Window Forum, Community Management Committee, SHG members


March 20, 2021: Day 2: Public Messaging though Wall Painting by Single Window and Water Committee members from Kishanbagh, Harijan Basti and Bapu Basti

Public Health and Engineer Works Office, Sector -3, Vidyadhar Nagar Zone

Geeta, Rekha – Water Committee, Asha, Ganga Devi, Poonam, – Single Window Forum Member, Subhash, Hafiz Khan – Male Forum with Mr. Pawan Agarwal – Executive Engineer, PHED and Mr. Hanuman Prajapat – Assistant Engineer, PHED

Adolescent Forum paints earthen pots with messages on water preparing for World Water Day


March 21, 2021: Day 3 : Public Messaging though Wall Painting by Single Window and Water Committee members from Kishanbagh, Harijan Basti and Bapu Basti

Public Health and Engineer Works Office, Sector -3, Vidyadhar Nagar Zone

Anisha, Shabnam, Shaheeda, Noorbano – Single Window Forum Member, Gyaarsi Devi and Manju, Elderly Bapu Basti, Subhash, Kamlesh Male Forum and Sanitary worker, Aarti, Adolescent Forum and Mohini, community representative

March 22, 2021: Day 4: World Water Day 2021
Mr Sharda Prasad, E & Y seeks to understand the Single Window led FSM Initiative with Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation

Mr Prasad is documenting the joint initiative of ULB and Community Forum across different districts in Odisha. He spent time with the Single Window Forum members at the BMC FSM Cell and closely observed the working, management, operation and tracking of cesspool vehicles


Community Speak

Jyoshna Dutta, Single Window Forume Member, Sabar Sahi, Ward No-46

If we talk about water, it is as valuable as life. It’s very useful in our daily lives. Especially, we the women are very much associated with it as we have to perform many functions like drinking, cooking, washing dishes & clothes, cleaning the house. Every house has supply from pipeline in our settlement. Each house has a tap and meter. Earlier before the installation of meters, a lot of water was wasted but, now people are aware and use water according to their daily requirements Now water is now available at our doorstep and there is no rush to fetch water.

Bharati Behera, Class 12, Student

Many water related issues like water scarcity, insufficient drinking water, water wastage are now resolved. This is because people are now aware and water meters and piped supply has come to every household. People are now more conscious about water wastage and they keep the tap closed at all times.



Madhusmita Mallick, SHG member, Sabar Sahi

Earlier a lot of water was wasted due to lack of awareness among people about the worth of water in our life. Now things have changed. Every house is provided with two taps and water meter. People have become conscious of wastage as they know that it will lead to additional charges in their water bills. Most people also understand that wasting water will lead hardships for future generations. Now water bills are collected on a regular basis. Any damage or leakage in water connections is attended within a short time when we make a complaint. We all are happy for this service.


Rosalin Nayak, Water ATM Volunteer, Pichupadia Basti

Water is supplied twice a day from 7 to 8:30 am in the morning and 5 to 6:30 pm in the evening. We have sufficient supply water and store it for use during the day. Water ATM has been a good source of drinking water and most people are aware.




Manorama Dhala, MAS Member, Nalabandha Munda Sahi

We get limited water supply from 4 to 4:30 pm once a day and this is actually not sufficient for the whole day. So, we have to store the water in buckets and utensils to use it for drinking, bathing, cooking and all other household activities. We cannot think of wasting this water.




World Water Day, March 22, 2021
In Jaipur four different events were organised to mark the World Water Day
Rally with Public Health and Engineering Department, Vidyadhar Nagar Zone, Jaipur

World Water Day was observed with Public Health and Engineering Department, Vidyadhar Nagar Zone, Jaipur. On the occasion as rally led by Single Window Forum, Community Management Committee, Adolescent Forum and Male Forum members was flagged off by Shri Satish Jain, Superintendent Engineer, PHED. Single Window Forum members carried earthen painted pots on their heads with messages for conserving water, access to safe water for all and water for life painted on them. These pots were filled with water and SWF handed over these filled water pots to elderly, pregnant, lactating, single women and persons with disability who did not have access to safe drinking water. At the end of the rally all officials and community took a joint pledge to improve access to safe water for all.


Training of Community Management Committee members on Water-purification, conservation, testing, quality and distribution

A training of 15 community management and water committee members was conducted by PHED officials in ward 6 & 7 on themes of water purification, conservation, testing, quality and distribution.

Launch of TG Signage for Public and Community Toilets by Jaipur Greater Municipal Corporation

Implementing the Supreme Court’s Judgement and its guidelines to ensure that the Transgender Community have equal opportunities and equitable access to all services and schemes, the Honourable Mayor of Greater Jaipur, Ms. Soumya Gurjar, launched the signage for- Transgender Signage today that would be used in all the community toilet complexes in the jurisdiction of Jaipur Greater Municipal Corporation. Shri Harshit Verma, DC, Jaipur Greater was also present at the event.

Launching the signage, the Mayor said, “We are committed to ensuring gender inclusiveness at all levels. Today is yet another opportunity for us to convert our intent into action. Today on this remarkable occasion of World Water Day, we take immense pleasure and happiness in announcing that all the CTCs /public toilets (PTs) under Greater Jaipur Municipal Corporation will now carry a signage for men, women and transgender. I also want to congratulate Nai Bhor and Centre for Advocacy and Research (CFAR) for engaging with us for over a year in making this possible today.”

Spearheading this initiative, Mx Pushpa Mai, Founder, Nai Bhor, a transgender CBO and Member Transgender Welfare Board, Rajasthan said, “The transgender community faces a lot of challenge in society, and their access to sanitation is even more challenging. This is not just a signage but a sign of inclusion and acceptance. Our community members now neither need to defecate in the open nor be worried of not being able to access the Community Toilet Complexes anymore. We worked closely with CFAR and we are thankful to JMC for this initiative that will be a role model for other states to follow too,” she added.

Public Messaging though Wall Painting by Single Window and Water Committee members from Transport Nagar

Public Health and Engineer Works Office, Sector -3, Vidyadhar Nagar Zone


Community Speak

Rekha, 45, Single Window and Water Committee member, Kishanbagh, Ward 27, Jaipur

We are a family of 9 members live in Kishanbagh Basti. The quantity of water we get every day is limited. To save water, we store the water in the pots, buckets and small vessels and cover them. To manage with this little amount of water, I tell my children and daughter –in-laws not waste water and use it carefully. If there is no supply of water on the next day, we make do with whatever little we have.

Many households in the basti have no meter. This does not mean that we waste water. We reuse the water after washing clothes to flush the toilets and the water after cleaning the floors is reused to water the plants. We cannot afford buying water from private agencies, so we divide portions of water for drinking, washing, using toilets, cooking food proportionately. I personally go to house to house and sensitize neighbors to close the tank covers after use and not to let any water overflow because if we cannot save water today, we will face the scarcity tomorrow.

Geeta (Indira Devi) 55, Water Committee Member, Bapu Basti, Ward 26,Jaipur

We are a family of ten. We make do with whatever water we get as we understand that not a drop should be wasted. We have water filter. We collect water which flows out from the filter in a a bucket and use it for washing dishes and utensils, and cleaning the floor. The waste water from washing clothes, is used for cleaning toilets.


Phooli, 25, Tila No. 2, Jawahar Nagar, Ward 97, Community Representative,Jaipur

I work as a domestic worker. We are a family of five. We live in the rear end of the settlement near the hill and forest. There is no attempt to connect our households with water connection and there is no bore well or pipeline. Every evening I get five buckets of water from the main road, and it takes half an hour for me to reach my home One bucket I use for cooking and drinking, two for bathing and cleaning and one for washing clothes, and one I keep for the next day. There are hundreds of houses here who do not have any access to basic water, and go down the hill fetch water for their use.



Meena Solanki, Tila No. 3, Jawahar Nagar, Ward 97, Single Window Forum Member, Jaipur

I am a housewife and live with a family of six in Jawaharnagar Tila No.3. There is water supply from Bisalpur line for 45 minutes every day. The first fifteen minutes the water supply is muddy. Whatever we get for the next 30 minutes, we use it for all the household needs. Earlier, in this slum people did not care and wasted water. They would leave the taps open. As a Single Window Forum member, I reached out and appealed to them to stop this practice. Now almost nine of the ten households are saving water which is a good sign.


Mr. Pawan Agarwal, Executive Engineer, PHED, North Zone, Jaipur

PHED’s role is to ensure that every household gets water regularly Our salient responsibility is to ensure that clean drinking water reaches everyone. In Jaipur, the current water source is Bisalpur line . As demand is huge we are working towards different alternatives to align the supply with the demand. We are also working towards reducing the wastage of water and for this PHED is exploring technology intervention which can be used by the community. Our teams with Assistant and Junior Engineers are working with the community in the settlements to educate and seek their support to conserve water, During this World Water Day, we pledge that PHED will work to supply adequate water, take steps to address grievances and conserve water. 

Yashodha 45, Shehnaz 55, Single Women, Residents of Jawaharnagar Tila No.2, Jaipur

Both of us are single women and do not have anyone to take care of us. We live in a small jhopdi nearby the forest, no water reach our houses. The pipe lines were laid many year ago but no connection has been given. We fetch water from the main road and come back with great difficulty. As roads are damaged we often fall down and our hands and legs are injured. We are hopeful that some good will happen and have recently submitted applications to the PHED for water connection. We are waiting for the day when water reaches our homes.

CFAR honours Women, TG Community Champions on International Women’s Day 2021

Bureau, Odishabarta

Bhubaneswar, March 8, 2021: The Centre for Advocacy and Research (CFAR) honored women and transgender persons across Indian cities for their roles as ‘Community Champions’ on the International Women’s Day. Women’s leadership and empowerment were discussed today with as part of this year’s theme, “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world.

In Bhubaneswar, the Hon’ble Minister for Women and Child Development and Mission Shakti Ms Tukuni Sahu attended an event, organised by the Centre for Advocacy and Research (CFAR) to celebrate the International Women’s Day, said “women were building the nation and were the backbone for the nation’s empowerment.”

Citing her own life as an example of women’s empowerment, the Minister said she began her life as any other girl child, being married off early and facing early widowhood.  “My transition from a widow to a public figure is an inspiration for women to fight for their dreams,” she said.  She also said the state was women-centric with the reservation for Panchayati raj institutions having been raised from 33% to 50%, and 70 lakh women being part of the Mission Shakti Yojna. “From papad and pickle-making, to fisheries and other schemes, these women are empowering themselves by being productive members of their families and society,” she said. She further encouraged and appreciated CFAR for continuing its work around women and vulnerable groups.

The event started with welcome address by Smt. Jayashree Das who went on to elaborate the “Women have proved their power in handling the global pandemic, efficiently paving a way for the generations to be inspired. When it comes to sanitization and health, women have immensely contributed for the betterment of the community and society as a whole,” she said.  She stressed the leadership opportunity women have been used for solving community problems.

Transgender persons, persons with disabilities, women, men, safai mitras were among those who were felicitated for their contributions, particularly for the empowerment of women with the support of CFAR. The event had the participation of Shri Ranjan Sawant, known educationist, who said men and women were two wings of the same bird, which make the bird fly with proper coordination, failing which will result in imbalance.  The director of SSEPD Mrs. Bratati Harichandan highlighted the importance of celebrating women everyday due to the power they have shown in handling the pandemic crisis. She stressed that women can flourish in their dreams if supported by their family and male counterparts.

Ms. Banita Moharrana, IIC women police station, hailed her male counterparts for bringing the women to the front stage in the community forum. She said that a woman is bold by virtue of birth as she handles the immense pain of the delivery of her child. She stressed the importance of treating a child equally at home with respect to upbringing for a better and equal society. She lauded the TGs and PWDs as a pillar of motivation for society.

The joint director of school and mass education Smt. Priti Prativa Bholo shared her personal experience with gender discrimination at her home, being the fourth girl child, she could never get to sleep in the lap of her mother.

In Cuttack, senior officials including the Deputy Commissioner and the Commissioner of the Cuttack Municipal Corporation appreciated women’s involvement in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) initiatives, including desludging and raising awareness around WASH, among others. The CMC Deputy Commissioner Sanjibeeta Ray said the corporation would be working a lot with area level federations, which are community-based, for taking forwards the WASH programme. Commissioner Ananya Das appreciated the role women were playing in making WASH programme a success by getting the community to engage, accept and demand services.

Women have been central in coping with the pandemic and contributing to the process of building both an integrated response and a pathway for recovery. This includes everything that the community, particularly the sanitation and frontline workers and marginalized groups such as transgender and persons with disability, have done to minimise the spread of COVID-19, primarily through safe and effective hand-washing practices, and improving sanitation for all and dignity of the community.

Ms. Akhila Sivadas, Executive Director of the Centre for Advocacy and Research (CFAR) said, “We helped raise the profile of women and transgender among others, in various events across India to recognise their contribution while outlining the path for their further involvement in their own development and that of society. This year’s theme recognizes the tremendous efforts by women and girls around the world in shaping a more gender equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and highlights the gaps that remain.”

Some of the Community Champions in Odisha included the following:

Nilu Pradhan, Kalinga Studio Kinner Basti – Nilu is about 35 years old. As a transgender, Nilu always encouraged others to fight for their rights. Earlier, Nilu worked as a beggar but she decided to change her life. After much struggle, she got her identity as a transgender. She now motivates others to lead a dignity and wants to mainstream transgender persons. So far Nilu has helped 27 transgender persons to get aadhaar and ration cards.

Pramodini Maharana, a person with disability (PWD), Basti Bikas 1:  Pramodini Maharana is 43 years old. She is a Single window Forum member and leads a self-help group constituted by PWDs.  She works for the inclusion of PwDs in social security schemes while campaigning for making toilets accessible to them and connecting them to livelihoods. She also takes up violence-related issues.

Sanjukta Sahu, Suka Vihar: Sanjukta, 42 years old, is a Single Window Forum member who is a Master Trainer in her area. She is coordinating the desludging process in her settlement. During the pandemic, she worked tirelessly to generate awareness around COVID-19 and WASH, etc among 70 adolescent girls and more than 50 women through paintings and demonstrations. She also monitors the cleanliness of her settlement and engages with government officials.

 Manisha Samal,14 years old, student of class 9: As  a members of the Kishori Club, Manisha has the courage to work against stigma and discrimination. She is an active participate in adolescents’ meetings. By using her creative mind, she can explain or understand anything. She motivates others on personal hygiene, safe disposal of sanitary pads, fighting superstitions, the importance of WASH. She has been titled as Sakhi Saheli for her commitment towards other adolescents.

Tapan Sahu: Tapan is 36 years old and is an active leader in the Tapoban Basti. As a Youth club president, he takes the responsibility for any developmental work. He also has been grooming others so as to create the second line of leadership. Tapan worked during the pandemic to generate awareness so that people could take precautions while he also co-ordinated with government and non-government agencies. One of his major achievements is his emphasis on equality between the genders at the household level, and equal access to sanitation.

CFAR’s Deputy Director, Programmes Ms. Juhi Jain said, there were many more “Community Champions” in all key areas whether in strengthening sanitation, addressing violence against women, bridging the gaps in accessing social, WASH and legal entitlements, etc. “The International Women’s Day 2021 is unique because the pandemic has in many ways impacted the lives of people in an unprecedented way, more so in the case of women and marginalised communities. They have been affected disproportionately, but this has not deterred them from leading the fight against the virus and supporting every process that is shaping the recovery from the pandemic,” she said.

Rajasthan: CFAR honours women and transgender persons on International Women’s Day 2021

Read this story on Times Now News 

Jaipur: The Centre for Advocacy and Research (CFAR) honoured women and transgender persons in Jaipur and Ajmer on March 09 for their roles as ‘Community Champions’ on International Women’s Day. Women’s leadership and empowerment were discussed today as part of this year’s theme, “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world.”  

At an event in Jaipur, among the community champions who were felicitated included Pushpa Mai, transgender leaders, and Sonia, a staff member of CFAR who has shown exemplary courage as a single mother. In a statement, Rakhee Badhwar from CFAR Jaipur said, “We once again celebrated women’s struggles, resilience and achievements. A lot needs to be done before the poorest and the most marginalised are able to make significant progress in their lives.”

CFAR, working in 69 urban settlements of Jaipur on WASH inclusion with the support of the Water for Women fund of the Australian government, is collaborating with the National Urban Livelihood Mission, Jaipur Heritage and Jaipur Greater Municipal Corporation. The joint event was conducted as part of the week-long campaign on gender equality, recognizing the commitments and determination of the community and stakeholders in achieving a gender-inclusive future.

The success stories of the community champions including transgender, persons with disabilities, women and girls, in strengthening menstrual hygiene and health management and men who have involved themselves in redefining gender norms and contributed to the progress in achieving gender equality were shared.

Over 120 participants, representing 24 settlements belonging to 19 wards in Jaipur, gathered on the occasion. During the event, women, persons with disabilities, girl champions and CSOs have been felicitated for their efforts and collective commitment to gender equality when it comes to dignity, safety and access to all services which enhance the quality of life such as safe and sustainable WASH services, nutrition, healthcare and livelihood, among others.

“This event also strongly reiterated the importance of focusing much on gender equality and inclusive society,” said Badhwar. The felicitation was done by the key officers of Jaipur Heritage and Greater Jaipur Municipal Corporations – National Urban Livelihood Mission.

Around 17 Self-Help Groups with over 170 women belonging to various settlements in Jaipur were trained by the National Urban Livelihood Mission (NULM) on livelihood under sanitation to produce products including low-cost sanitary napkins, masks, floor cleaners, herbal agarbathi, washing soaps and liquid handwash. A four-page flyer depicting the various products prepared by the SHGs was released during the event.

This event helped in showcasing the role played by the community platforms in partnership with the government departments during the COVID-19 pandemic and how they were able to reach and support the vulnerable population to access sanitation through a film that was shown during the event.

Anita Mittal, Deputy Commissioner, NULM said, “Any effort that involves women is very effective, it helped in creating a cleaner, healthier, safe and sustainable change. NULM is committed to enhancing livelihoods, especially among persons with disabilities, women and transgender. The knowledge provided to women in the family would not only benefit her but also to the entire family, and NULM will continue to work in partnership with these vulnerable groups to make a difference together.”

Banwari Lal Atal District Program Officer, NULM, said “Congratulations to women! NULM is proud to be part in strengthening the livelihood of the urban poor through SHGs. The SHGs did remarkable work, especially during the pandemic, which proved women are no less than anybody else. Today is just a small recognition of their innumerable efforts to support the urban poor.”

Dinesh, State ASHA coordinator, said, “The National Health Mission is committed to reaching women and children in the urban slums through ASHAs, and we are able to focus and strengthen our programme on women and child health. We are committed to strengthening it through a gender-sensitive perspective, and we require women volunteers to carry it forward. CFAR has managed to create such platforms and we are committed to work in partnership with them to reach the larger population.”

Akhila Sivadas, Executive Director of CFAR said, that women had been central in coping with the pandemic and contributing to the process of building both an integrated response and a pathway for recovery. “This includes everything that the community, particularly the sanitation and frontline workers and marginalized groups such as transgender and persons with a disability, have done to minimise the spread of COVID-19, primarily through safe and effective hand-washing practices, and improving sanitation for all and dignity of the community.”

Sivadas said, “This year’s theme recognizes the tremendous efforts by women and girls around the world in shaping a more gender-equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and highlights the gaps that remain.”

“There are more community representatives who have emerged as “Community Champions” in all the key areas whether it is strengthening sanitation, addressing violence against women, bridging the gaps in accessing social, WASH and legal entitlements, and addressing boldly addressing gender biases in every walk of life,” said Badhwar.  




Menstruating with dignity is a human right

Gender-inclusive sanitation brings dignity to women and girls




The Menstrual Health and Awareness Week, observed from February 3 to 6, is aimed at drawing attention to the silence which shrouds menstruation, spread awareness and address myths and taboos related to menstrual health and hygiene. 

February 5 is observed as the Menstrual Health and Awareness Day which marks the launch the Red Spot Campaign, focussing on raising awareness on the importance of understanding menstrual health and engaging men to shatter myths around menstrual hygiene and develop sensitivity to women’s WASH needs.

Week-long activities to mark this day were carried out by the community, facilitated by CFAR through various events involving adolescent girls, mothers, health workers and other stakeholders through deliberations, field-related activities, games, wall paintings and street plays.

Our partners include: ICDS, National Health Mission, Department of Women and Child, Slum Development Committees, School Management Committees, Adolescent Group Male Forums, Kishori Samuh, Mothers Committees, Self-Help Groups, Area Level Federations, Self-Regulatory Committees; Mahila Aarogya Samitis, ASHAs, ANMs, UPHC; Parivar Sewa Sansthan, Saath Charitable Trust and doctors.

We bring you glimpses of activities in Bhubaneswar, Delhi, Jaipur and Kolkata during this period.

February 3, 2021

Tapabana Basti, Ward 63, Bhubaneswar

Poster-making Competition

The posters made by adolescent girls depicted messages on menstrual awareness and safe disposal, addressing myths and taboos. Some of these messages were:

“Periods are a matter of pride, not shame. We all must come together to normalise it and eradicate all taboos.” – Sasmita Behera

Periods are a blessing, not a burden for us.” – Meghanjali Parida, 15 years

“Everyone must know that periods are normal and there need not be any restrictions on any physical activities. We should not feel ashamed to talk about them in front of our fathers or brothers.” – Pinki Palei, 14 years

“Sanitary pads are a safer option than cloth, but the pads must be disposed of safely either in dustbins by wrapping it in newspaper or by burning them.” – Manisha Samal, 14 years

The activity also included quiz on four pillars of menstruation, including scientific information, access to WASH services, availability of safe products and disposal.

February 3, 2021

ICDS, Nagtalai, Jaipur

Intergenerational dialogue on effective menstrual hygiene – time to talk; Snake and Ladder game, role-play on different responses to MHM

Men should support girls and women in practicing safe menstrual practices as brothers, husbands and fathers.  Suman Lata, Anganwadi worker

Discrimination between a boy and a girl in the house should stop. Raju Devi, Mothers’ Committee

I do not want my daughter to suffer like me during her periods due to lack of knowledge on safe menstrual practices. Kiran Devi, Mothers Committee

Even the elders of the family hesitate to talk to us on menstrual practices and menstrual health. -Chetna, Kishori Samooh

February 4, 2021

Tapabana Basti, Ward 63, Bhubaneswar

February 4, 2021 Jaipur

Upper Primary School, Transport Nagar, Jaipur

MHM session with boys

Girls feeling shy to talk about menstruation is due to a flaw in our upbringing. When the chapter on reproduction is taught in class, girls feel shy. It becomes our responsibility to embolden them to speak up. Savita Sharma, Teacher

I will help my sister get sanitary napkin and also help her in disposing of the waste in the dustbin so that she can follow healthy menstruation practices. Lucky Singh Chauhan, Class 8

I will share information on Menstrual Health Awareness with my younger sister and help her understand the importance of menstrual health hygiene. Neeraj Yadav, Class 9

Girls should not miss schools during their periods, and boys should help them in whichever way they can.” Ravi Kumar, Class 12

February 4, 2021 Jaipur
Sharda Shiksha Mandir, Amagadh, Jaipur
Role-play – Happy Periods Day – Ab Pata Chalne do/Hopscotch Game on MHM


Besides using a napkin, we should also ensure personal hygiene, including washing hands before and after using pads. Girls should be encouraged not to miss school but take periods in their stride.” Sarita Taylor, Pariwar Sewa Sansthan

Such campaigns in schools help students overcome their hesitation and actively participate and share their period concerns. Tara Chand Choudhary, Principal

These events bring positive changes in our behaviour and attitude. Now I am more aware about my menstrual health and I use sanitary napkins which I get from the pad bank. Choti Nakula

At home, my mother tells me not go out for any work during my periods, but my teacher says that we should not limit our activities during menstruation but be active, eat good food and do light exercise. Afreen, Class 10

We have been taught not to throw our menstrual waste on streets, causing inconvenience to others and damaging the environment. We should segregate the menstrual waste, wrap it in newspapers and then throw it in the dustbin. Megha Tontyat, Class 9

February 4, 2021 Jaipur
Janta Clinic, Jaipur
MHM quiz and discussion with health experts on myths and taboos on MHM, role-play on different responses to MHM.

February 5, 2021

Gadakana School, Bhubaneswar

Wall painting on MHM; meeting with health experts, adolescent girls and mothers, street play on MHM and meeting with health experts, debate and quiz

The Menstrual Awareness and Hygiene Day gave 30 students of Gadakana School in Ward 9, Bhubaneswar an opportunity to draw attention to and demand the integration of menstrual hygiene services in schools, anganwadi and health centres.

To highlight their trials and tribulations at school with very little or no access to menstrual services, institutional or peer support, the boundary wall of the school was painted with a powerful illustration depicting the distress girls and women suffer during periods while others do not play a supportive role. The evocative wall painting reached out to boys and the men in the community to sensitize them on the issue and seek their support.

The girls had very engaging discussions with frontline workers on the lack of awareness and sensitivity in the community and appealed to them to support them is dissemination of information on safe period management.

February 5, 2021

Janta Jeewan Camp, Okhla Phase II, New Delhi

Girls and women inaugurate Pad Bank; ICDS workers conduct sessions on sexual and reproductive health; Session on menstrual value chain adolescent trainers

Ms. Anita Ahlawat, CDPO, Okhla inaugurated the Sakhi Pad Bank at Janta Jeewan Camp to facilitate access to eco-friendly sanitary pads for girls and women in the ward.

The idea to set up the Pad Bank was led by 23 girls and women from 9 settlements who are designated as master trainers by the government. The salient aim is ensure access to safe menstrual absorbents for girls and women to manage their periods as well as reduce menstrual waste.
“We do not want to suffer the distress we faced during COVID-19 when no pads were available and we had to manage with cloth. This pad bank will help us get pads within the community,” said Jyoti Yadav.

“Adolescents will purchase pads from the Baba Saheb Sakhi Biodegradable Sanitary Napkin Unit in Janta Jeewan Camp and stock them in ICDS centres in their respective settlements,” added Vidya, who is a Swaccha Grahi and a master trainer on MHM.

Stakeholders present included Kirti Singh, Counsellor, District Legal Services Authority, South east; Dr Sudha Vohra, Disability Expert, Director ASTHA; Ms. Reema Singh, Secretary, ASTHA; Mr Vinay Stephen; Sadik Masih Medical Servants Society; Ms Vidya, Ms Jyoti, Ms Kamlesh, Ms Sapna, Ms Mukesh, Ms Pista, Ms Radha and Ms Seema from Baba Saheb Sakhi Biodegradable Sanitary Napkin Unit.

February 5, 2021

Tila No. 4, Jawahar Nagar and Transport Nagar, Jaipur

Wall painting, open letters, Nukkad Natak

Scores of women and adolescents from Tila No. 4, Jawahar Nagar, and Transport Nagar in Jaipur came together to launch the Red Spot Campaign focussed on creating awareness on the importance of understanding menstrual health and engaging men to break the myths and develop sensitivity towards the subject.

The entire event was best signified by Mx. Kanak, a transgender artist who through her wall painting depicted that menstruation was not a burden but a gift of nature which should be accepted with grace. Meanwhile, women and girls wrote open letters to men and boys, asking them to be as concerned about menstrual health and hygiene as them. They said that since health was a right of all women and girls, men needed to stand with them. Explaining this further, they said, “Periods are something that as fathers, brother and our trusted guardians you should also know about.”

Mx. Pushpa Mai, Founder, Nai Bhor, a transgender CBO, interacted with women and girls at the centre. She said, “It is important to strengthen advocacy on menstruation as a right of every woman and girls. Everyone from the family to the government must ensure that the issue in not shrouded in silence”.

Ms. Lalita, General Nursery Midwifery, Community Health Centre, added, “Women are very hesitant to talk about issues related to their reproductive health. This is nothing to be ashamed of. It is women and men together who together can break traditional gender norms associated with menstruation.”

Nirmala, a representative of the Mother’s Committee, Tila Number 3, said, “The time has come when everyone needs to say ‘Ab pata chalne do’ or recognize the importance of the issue.”

Jawahar Nagar, Jaipur