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“Valuing Toilets” – Multi- Stakeholder Consultation

Jaipur Heritage Municipal Corporation, Department of Social Justice and Empowerment, National Urban Health Mission, Single Window Forum and Community Management Committee collaborate to strengthen  access to toilets

Representatives from Transgender, women, disabled and sanitary workers from 20 wards deliberate on Equitable, Safe and Inclusive Toilets for All

November 24, 2021, Jaipur: Over 200 community representatives including Single Window Forum, Community Management Committee, Self Help Groups, Slum Development Committee from 24 wards and officials from Jaipur Heritage Municipal Corporation, Swachh Bharat Mission (U), Department of Social Justice and Empowerment (SJED), Women Empowerment Department(WED), Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS), National Urban Livelihood Mission (NULM), SATO and CSOs were present to mark the culmination of World Toilet Day 2021. The Consultation was a part of the Water for Women Fund, Australian Government supported project on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, implemented by CFAR across 24 wards in Jaipur

The highlight of the event was the release of a Charter by Mr. Ashish Kumar, Deputy Commissioner Health, JMC – Heritage, Mr Naresh Nagar Ward Councilor, Dinesh Singh Meena, NHM, Mr Ashok Bairwa, Director SJED, Ms Anita Mittal, Deputy Commissioner, NULM, Priyanka Sharma, Asst. Engineer, and Mx Pushpa Mai, Naibhor and conferring of SATO toilet seats and 50 hand washing stations to disabled community representatives

In his opening remarks Ravi Kiran Bokam, State Project Manager, CFAR urged all stakeholders to use the World Toilet Day to renew and strengthen their commitment towards safe and inclusive sanitation for all.  “Our concern is to ensure that groups with distinct needs-disabled, transgender, elderly, are able to use the toilet with dignity and pride.   The Single Window Forum and Community Management Committee will work with the city administration to ensure that across the 68 slums no one is left behind.”

In his keynote message Shri Samit Sharma, IAS, Principal Secretary, Social Justice Empowerment Department, Government of Rajasthan, appealed to the community to take ownership of health and sanitation. In this pandemic, our first and foremost duty is to keep ourselves away from infection and for this “we must adopt safe behavioral practices”. When it comes to elderly, disabled and transgender our responsibility is even greater as such groups are highly vulnerable. “The process of empowering these most at risk persons needs meaningful engagement, providing accessible physical, financial and services and skilling them to become economically independent” he added

Responding to the Principal Secretary, Mx. Pushpa Mai, Member Transgender Welfare Board and Founder Nai Bhor Sanstha, highlighted the plight of trans-men and trans-women in the city.  “Transgender still face harassment while using public and community Toilets. We do not need separate toilets; we need to be a part of and accepted by mainstream society. A small step of putting the transgender signage along with men and women will make a huge difference to the community and we request SJED to do this at the earliest.”

Ms. Munesh Gujjar, Mayor, Nagar Nigam, Heritage emphasized the importance of sanitation in the day to day lives of people. She went on to state that “Jaipur Heritage Municipal Corporation has been taking significant steps and focused on informal urban slums  and especially ensuring that persons with disabilities, elderly, women and girls have access to safe and inclusive toilets in their homes.” she added.

Mr. Ashish Kumar, Deputy Commissioner, Jaipur Heritage Municipal Corporation stated that, “The Single Window Forum and Community Management Committee members will help the Municipal Corporation reach out to poor households and motivate them to adopt safe practices. They will help the service providers in identifying gaps as well as planning solutions which can benefit the community as well as the Corporation”

Ms Anita Mittal, Deputy Commissioner National Urban Livelihood Mission, asked CFAR to federate the SHGs into Area Level Federation so that “they become self-reliant entrepreneurs and empowered women leaders.”

Members of Adolescent Forum, Ginny, Sonia, Ishrat, drew attention to “lack of WASH services, water and menstrual facilities and female caretakers for girls in schools and public places. Many girls drop out of school due to this” she added.

Ms. Poonam, Single Window Forum stated that it is important not only to build toilets but also maintain them. Ms. Bhawri Devi, Single Window Forum, urged the government to locate the community toilets in accessible locations so that the old and infirm are able to use them. Ms Gopi Devi, Single Window Forum and PwD representative shared that “disabled persons face many difficulties while using the community toilets. None of the toilets are disability-friendly. The Municipal engineers need to consult the community and incorporate simple changes in the design to enable us to access the toilets.”

In her closing remarks Ms. Juhi Jain, Deputy Director, CFAR, emphasized that to reach the SDG goal of safe and sustainable for all by “institutionalizing community engagement and ensuring No One is Left Behind and strengthening Ward level participatory governance with representation of marginal groups”.

In response Shri Ashok Bairwa, Deputy Director, SJED requested CFAR to take the process of facilitation beyond WASH services to social entitlement and other social protection schemes meant for disabled, transgender and vulnerable persons. He finally exhorted CFAR “to keep up the selfless work and support SJED in publicizing the schemes among the needy using the community led mechanism of Single Window.”