first of its kind Swachh Uttarakhand, Swachh Bharat Summit was held by the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance (GIWA), in association with Ministry of Drinking Water & Sanitation, WaterAid India and other partners. The Swachh Uttarakhand Summit brought together different nationwide organizations, municipalities, panchayat representatives, community leaders and faith leaders who have excelled in sanitation work and demonstrated as model for others to interface with government officials and elected representatives of Uttarakhand, community leaders, faith leaders and NGOs towards the vision of Uttarakhand as India’s first fully-Swachh state. Recently, Uttarakhand was reported to have 100% coverage in sanitation and would be the 4th open defecation free (ODF) state in the country.

The Summit was a cross learning experience to help sustain Uttarakhand’s ODF status as well as to help ensure toilet usage and community ownership of the toilets that have been built. Moreover, there are issues related to proper disposal mechanisms for waste, as well as the threat of water scarcity.

The Swachh Uttarakhand, Swachh Bharat Summit served to inspire and motivate knowledge sharing and experience learning through interactive sessions that highlighted solutions that have worked elsewhere in the country. About 80 gram pradhans and representatives from nagar palika parishads as well as about 60 representatives from the urban development directorate, Swajal Project, Jal Sansthan, SBM urban districts representing: Haridwar, Dehradun, Tehri, Pauri, Uttarkashi, Rudraprayag, Chamoli and other districts participated in these deliberations. The Ministry of Drinking Water & Sanitation, Government of India and Government of Uttarakhand Swachh Bharat and Namami Gange! department helped GIWA reach out to these key stakeholders in these vital discussions.

Some of the specific findings from the meeting participants were:

1) Behavior change and community participation is essential to making a Swachh and Swasth Uttarakhand (Clean and Healthy Uttarakhand)

2) Special care for elderly, divinely abled and women needs to be made in sanitation facilities

3) Public spaces such as hospitals, bus stations and public places need to be accounted for in Swachh Uttarakhand

4) People’s participation is essential in ODF+ Uttarakhand, creating effective solid and liquid waste management

Findings of the Summit were presented to the Government of India and were shared with the Union Minister of Drinking Water & Sanitation, Shri Narendra Singh Tomarji and Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, Shri Trivendra Singh Rawatji during the evening proceedings, which were accompanied by private meetings.