Coming together is a beginning; Keeping together is progress; Working together is success.
Dejoo, a Gram Panchayat in Lakhimpur has put this philosophy into effect. In the past two months Caritas India has been mobilizing young women in the villages of Nowboicha and Telahi block to educate their fellow community members on cleanliness, hygiene and sanitation. These women known as the WASH Biranganas have organized awareness programs across their respective villages along with organizing rallies and street plays. Door to Door Visits have been administered as a means to train households on preparing low cost bio-sand filters, maintain personal hygiene and convince them to build toilets. The Biranganas are also instrumental in discouraging the villagers from littering and using polythene. The team has come up with a WASH anthem in Assamese which urges the villagers to equivocally raise their voice against poor sanitation and filthy habits and adopt cleanliness as a mission to serve their community.
Relentless efforts by the WASH Biranganas have prompted the Panchayat leaders and members to actively advocate on issues pertaining to cleanliness and sanitation. In a recent initiative the Biranganas with support from the Dejoo Panchayat collaborated with the Lakhimpur District Swaccha Bharat Mission and succeeded in mobilizing the Dejoo Market Association in organizing a joint cleanliness drive on 4th November 2019. Around 200 people participated in the drive followed by taking an oath to minimize the use of plastic in their day to day business. The waste was then transported in a vehicle to the secondary disposal and collection point. The expenses of the transportation were jointly undertaken by the volunteers.
Post clean-up, the participants engaged in a half hour meeting where they brainstormed on means to scale up their initiative across the district, build rapport with the stakeholders in multiple layers and shape it into a collective advocacy towards a clean and Open Defecation Free Lakhimpur. The Lakhimpur District SBM Ambassador, Mr. Ranjit Kakoti lauded the Biranganas for their strive towards transforming the attitude of the common people in Dejoo and assured of his support as and when required.
The members of Panchayat and Market Association are in praise of this noble initiative, as Nur Islam, secretary of Dejoo Market Association states “We appreciate the biranganas for initiating the first step. Their dedication has encouraged the locals to come out and engage themselves in the drive. We also promise to arrange adequate dustbins which shall be installed at several points of the marketplace to avoid litter.”
Mr. Pankaj Phukan, member of ward 6 Dejoo Panchayat assured of corrective measures and invited the Biranganas to lead more of such initiatives assuring them of the Panchayat’s backing.
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