In an effort to raise awareness against open defecation and related health issues, UNICEF is launching a nationwide social media campaign early next month.
The UNICEF drive, to be called ‘Take the Poo to Loo’, would seek to create an active front of advocacy to spread awareness about the need to stop open defecation.
Major public health problem
According to UNICEF, open defecation is a major public health problem and India is home to the world’s largest population — 626 million — of such people as are forced to defecate in the open.
UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake met Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh to discuss the problem of open defecation in rural India during which the latter agreed that sanitation was a key issue that the country needed to address.
“In India, 626 million people defecate in the open.
Although the practice is common among people in rural India belonging to the bottom two wealth quintiles, it is also prevalent among all socio—economic groups across the country.
“The aim is primarily to reach out to the urban young, the majority of whom already use toilets, and get them to speak out against open defecation. Collectively, this voice will help stimulate the creation of a new social norm wherein nobody accepts open defecation and everyone uses a toilet.
‘Make India poo free’
“Thus, the task is to create noise that makes the nation sit up, take notice and join UNICEF in its efforts to make India ‘poo free’,” said Karin Hulshof, the UNICEF Regional Director for South Asia.
The ‘Take the Poo to Loo’ campaign will be will be launched on November 9.
It is a digitally-led, interactive effort that intends to do more than just create awareness on the issue of open defecation, Hulshof added.PTI