Jaipur: November 19, 2020: The World Toilet Day, celebrates toilets and raises awareness of the 4.2 billion people living without access to safely managed sanitation. The World Toilet Day 2020, on the theme Sustainable Sanitation and Climate Change was observed with great fervor by communities, civil society and government officials in Jaipur. The event was organised by Centre for Advocacy and Research, as part of its ongoing work on strengthening access to water sanitation and hygiene across 69 urban slums of Jaipur supported by Water for Women Fund, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Government of Australia.
Akhila Sivadas, Executive Director, CFAR in her opening remarks said, “In the context of an unprecedented health disaster such as COVID-19, we need to recognize the need for sustainable sanitation system that cannot only withstand extreme weather events, but also help mitigate climate change. Without strengthening the sanitation system and making it responsive to the many millions who are deprived of basic and safely managed sanitation the cities will be neither inclusive nor sustainable.”
In his inaugural address, Shri Harshit Verma, Deputy Commissioner, Health, Jaipur Municipal Corporation, said, “Inclusion in Sanitation is a collective effort. JMC is looking for community platforms like the Single Window Forum and Community Management Committee to work with us to reach all the vulnerable communities. We will ensue that we sustain basic right to sanitation to everyone and that too with community engagement. As the first step, on World Toilet Day, we commit to install the transgender signage in all public and community toilets in Jaipur in a planned manner to be completed by the end of this month.”
Shri Lokbandu, IAS Commissioner, Jaipur Heritage, stated, “keeping the pandemic in sight we need to give utmost importance to hygiene and toilets. There are many unresolved issues which JMC needs to address in a campaign mode. We will organise a city level campaign in Jaipur aimed to provide toilets to all marginal groups to shrink the curve through sustainable sanitation methods”.
Shri Atul Sharma, Deputy Commissioner, Motor Garage, Jaipur Municipal Corporation, spoke of the Municipal Corporation’s efforts for sustaining ODF. JMC is working with communities to plan sustainability of ODF and moving consistently towards ODF + and ODF ++. “We aim to achieve 100% desludging at affordable costs which the community can pay in all kutchi bastis where there are single and twin pit toilets. In partnership with the Single Window Forum we will reach every household in the city and this process will be anchored by Jaipur Municipal Corporation,” he said.
Expressing concern about Transgender persons, Shri Arun Garg, RAS Additional Commissioner, Jaipur Greater said, “The transgender signage has to be driven ahead now. We resolve to speed up this process by next week and ensure that it takes actionable shape.”
Urging the officials to translate their policies Pushpa Mai, Founder, Nai Bhor, urged the officials to translate their policies into concrete action. “The access to public and community toilets for transgender both in slums and in public places is a much-needed service. We are ready to support and lead these efforts with the government at all levels”.
Ms. Anita Mittal, Deputy Commissioner, Kutchi Basti and NULM, Jaipur speaking about toilets in slums said, “Sanitation in slums is the responsibility of JMC and community plays a major role in making it sustainable. To achieve this goal, we seek the support of the community in conducting a survey to highlight where access to toilets needs to be enhanced and how and we as JMC will ensure that toilets are installed or constructed in those locations. Together we resolve to make this happen by World Toilet day 2021.”
Shiv, a disabled master trainer highlighted the plight of disabled persons. “If the basic design of the toilet is not made in consultation with us how will the government ensure that we use it?” he questioned.
Several other activities were part of the day. These included – release of statement of intent for making sanitation for all a practice by stakeholders and community, felicitation of community leadership across wards for facilitating equitable sanitation services for marginal households, Aao Bhagidari Badhayein, a kathputli performance by men and boys and a signature campaign in two kutchi bastis, Jawahar Nagar and Kishan Bagh.
The three events were attended by over 170 government officials, service providers, sanitary workers, CSOs and community representatives.