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Where there is a Will, there is a Way
Naureen Khan & Humanitarian Team, Oxfam India
Vishrampur is a small village in Bihar where the main occupation is agriculture and livestock rearing. Poor sanitation and open defecation are one of the major issues in the village. As there are forest areas beside the village, villagers indulge in open defecation. This has resulted in many incidences of snake and monkey bites. Also many women have faced sexual harassment when they go out in the late evening and early mornings.
Oxfam India with its partner organization has taken the village under the Disaster Risk Reduction program. The Village Disaster Management Committee (VDMC) was formed in this village and during its meeting, this serious issue was raised. With the help of the Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) committee, a large meeting was organized in the community and thus, Community Led Total Sanitation process was initiated. This motivated the community members especially the four local women who were members of the WASH committee.
These women planned to construct temporary toilets in their own houses and ensure that all their family members use them with help of Oxfam. Thereafter, they started motivating other women members of WASH committee to emulate. This initiative brought more people to construct toilets in their houses. These women also formed a watch team to restrict people from open defecation by visiting the forest area in early morning and late evenings.
Soon they received support and applaud from other quarters including Gram Pradhan who visited the village and assured all support to the community to construct permanent toilets.
Within a short duration, the village achieved the target of construction of 56 toilets. Today, Vishrampur is declared as an Open Defecation Free village and the villagers are proud of their WASH Committee and its motivated members.
Oxfam India continues to work on the ground to help people recover from disasters and live a better life.
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