Twenty participants from villages Mohallapuri, Dalupuri, Mangolpura and Aryanagar came together on March 29, 2017 for a Sanitation Ambassadors Training at World Toilet College, Parmarth Niketan. The aim of the training was to explain good sanitation and hygiene practices to the participants, as well as inspire them to carry this message to their respective communities as Sanitation Ambassadors.

The GIWA project coordinator, Samuel Herbert, started the session with basic questions, such as: what is meant by sanitation and hygiene, and what is the importance of good hygiene and sanitation habits? Gradually, the participants opened up and started expressing their views. Then, they watched films about humble villagers who have become champions of change in their local communities by revolutionizing mindsets and behaviours through continuous effort. The films showed how some of these champions have been honoured by the Indian government. The participants were also informed about Swachh Bharat Mission, and its objectives and provisions, including the benefits that people can get from the government.

This was followed by a breakout session in which participants were divided into small groups and asked to chart out the common sanitation issues in their villages along with their possible solutions. In the plenary, representatives from each group discussed their findings. Later on, they were given the task of comparing the advantages of having toilets and the disadvantages of being without toilets.

A special visit by a high-level team from UNICEF India— Mr. Nicolas Osbert, Ms. Rania Elessawi, Ms. Stephanie Raison, Mr. Pravin More and Ms. Nipurnh Gupta—- along with Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji, Swamini Adityananda Saraswatiji and Ms. Nandini Tripathi, from GIWA, caused a lot of excitement among the trainees. The UNICEF delegates interacted with the participants on how the latter planned to make their communities Open Defecation Free. Some of the participating ladies, who had attended GIWA’s Toilet Building 101 course and Self-Help Group trainings, shared their experiences and hopes. In response to a question from Sadhvi Bhagwatiji, the participants took a collective pledge that they would ensure universal access to toilets in their area by the next Diwali.

GIWA Team: RC, Samuel, Vishal, Pooja, Shruti, Annu

Visitors:  Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji,  Swamini Adityananda Saraswatiji, Nicolas Osbert, Rania Elessawi, Stephanie Raison, Pravin More,  Nipurnh Gupta, Nandini Tripathi