India is the most densely populated subcontinents in the world and has the lowest sanitation coverage. In 1991, only about a 10% of the Indian rural population (about 627 million) reported access to latrines (Census of India, 1991).
World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates about 80% of all diseases are caused due to lack of potable water and sanitation that cause communicable diseases such as diarrhea, cholera, malaria etc. Lack or poor sanitary conditions render the settlements in the villages as potential sites for a host of diseases like Schistosomiasis, Japanese Encephalitis, Malaria, Dengue fever and Trachoma. The burden of disease is directly related to loss of livelihood opportunities, thus having an adverse effect on the life of the people; generally underprivileged people living in rural areas.
Having studied and understood the plight of the people in rural areas, Lions Clubs of Pune Eco Friends, decided to remedy the situation. Taking advantage of the government’s Central Rural Sanitation Program (CRSP), 1991, the club embarked on a project in the village of Arvi, Pune that was selected after careful study and research, based on the wants and desire of people in the community. After consideration it was decided to create a sanitation solution and study the effects it has on the well-being of the community.
The project was funded by Lions club with families helping wherever possible. A systematic process of education, awareness and implementation was undertaken by the Lions Club of Pune Eco Friends, where 110 homes that did not have toilets were fitted eco-friendly toilets. Additionally, schools, anganwadis and community centres were also fitted with toilets that were especially designed for rural areas, keeping in mind their unique challenge - lack of running water and disposal of waste.
The Lions continuous monitoring of the project has ensured 100% compliance by villagers and has witnessed tremendous change in the attitude of villagers. Today, women are able to use the toilet in the privacy of their home and in hygiene conditions. This has resulted in respect for the women folk of the village and has helped increase the morale of women, who otherwise were embarrassed by the lack of privacy and the hardship of having to wake-up in the early hours of the morning in order to answer natures call.
Today, the dedication of the Lions club, seen from design to implementation to education of the villagers to monitoring the rural sanitation project is a model to emulate and has received high praise from both, government and citizen groups.
Way to go Lions Club Pune Eco Friends, we are proud of you!
To emulate the success of Lions Club Pune Eco Friends, click here and someone from our office will get in touch with you or you can contact Charter President, Anil Mandrupkar for details.