‘Quality Leadership, Strengthened Institutions, Others Changed India’s OD Story’

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Kuni Tyessi in Abuja

In ending the menace of open defecation (OD) in India, quality leadership, strengthening of institutions, establishment of key resource centres supported by consultants, as well as family social norms are some of the contributory factors that led to the change of narrative in the Indian story of open defecation.

Convergence Specialist, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Ms. Bhawna Vajpai, who disclosed this in Abuja during the UNICEF mid- year review which recorded 1,316 UNICEF mentions in the mainstream media and online platforms between January- June 2019, said the Indian journey to end open defecation also included the introduction of subsidy in the use of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH).

She added at the local government level, there were district collectors who were even as powerful as the permanent secretaries in Nigeria, and that they were mobilised while doing as much as the prime minister in ending open defecation.

She said: “Before, gives the Indian government support for trainings, but right now, they no longer ask for trainings. They now ask for high level support.

“With this, other systems also started coming in place. In every state, key resource centres have been established, and they have their own key resource centre for water and sanitation, and so the institutions at all levels became stronger. There is almost about one million people in every LGA.

“So, the local government is very important, and with the campaign, everything changed. Strengthening at local government level was very strong and there was also subsidy, which may be negative in this context.”