On the 2nd of May, HE, Mr. Kenneth Juster, the esteemed United States Ambassador to India was warmly welcomed to GIWA’s Secretariat, where he met our own Sanitation Ambassadors! They are a group of women from slums and villages who are making big changes in their lives and their communities through the skills they have learned through our World Toilet College and Women for WASH Initiative.

In late 2015, the Global Interfaith Wash Alliance (GIWA), Reckitt Benckiser (RB), and the World Toilet Organization joined forces to launch the first World Toilet College (WTC) in India. Its aim is to develop the skills needed to achieve SBM Goals for a clean and healthy nation. Among the course offerings has been our Sanitation Ambassadors training to empower every-day citizens to become Swachh Leaders in their own right. The programme joined forces with GIWA’s Women for WASH Initiative, in partnership with the Millennium Alliance (a partnership of FICCI, USAID, the World Bank and others), to further train these leaders how to build toilets, handwashing stations and more.

Through this program, our Sanitation Ambassadors learned why toilets are important for your home and community, alongside professional construction skills, and how to influence others to embrace the concept of toilets. Equipped with these hands-on skills, they were empowered, ultimately enhancing productivity and deeply raising their self-esteem. 

HE the Ambassador and GIWA Founder, Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji sat down for a stirring conversation with these entrepreneurial women in a sharing circle, where all were delighted to hear about their experiences! Some of the women present did not take classes but have learned these skills from our Sanitation Ambassadors, proving the effectiveness of our training and mission to spread awareness and sanitation basics throughout the communities.

They are now proud workers and can contribute to their household finances, feeling strong, independent and respected by their families and communities. Some of them have also told us how they were able to solve problems in their houses and villages and that their families have been in better health than before, getting sick less often.

The Sanitation Ambassadors later had the opportunity to meet Pujya Swamiji and Ambassador Juster, and tell them about their work and experiences. We hope to have more chances to meet and chat with these amazing women about their achievements and to see the number of Sanitation Ambassadors grow!