BARPETA, Sept 14: Arpana Adhikary, the district coordinator of Swachh Bharat Mission, Barpeta district, Assam is a woman of outstanding rigour.
When men in her district failed to show interest in building toilets, she selected 22 women from Self Help Groups (SHGs) and trained them to be masons. Arpana vociferously worked to make the district Open Defecation Free (ODF), she also initiated the Government’s movement for Solid Liquid Resource Management. Arpana’s tireless efforts to ensure cleanliness have been backed by training sessions under the Swachh Bharat Mission.
The training session, conducted by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, consist of mason training and Community Mobilisation. While the SHG women provide with material and labour to build toilets for impoverished families, they simultaneously sell construction material to those who could afford to build their toilets.
Over the last year, the group of women has convinced families from 371 homes in Bhulukabari and Balarvitha villages to build their own toilets. This has helped the district administration save a whopping Rs. 44, 52,000.
Asked about the work of the women masons, Adhikary said that their work is at par with the work done by their male counterparts. “Women understand the need for building toilets and overall sanitary health of their family, especially young girls. Mobilising women was easy because they were determined to ensure proper toilets for all,” she said.