Financial subsidies end open defecation in AP, says NUS team

The subsidies announced by the Andhra Pradesh Government have apparently gone a long way in ensuring construction of community and individual toilets in the rural areas besides educating people about the importance of avoiding defacation in open places.

This was a major take away of the study conducted by a delegation from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy of the National University of Singapore. The delegation led by assistant professor Yvonne Jie Chen visited few villages in Guntur district which stood as role model in the construction of individual toilets in the State.

“The financial trigger has definitely worked as a motivator. Without the financial subsidy it would not have worked,” said Ms. Chen. She was accompanied by her colleague Namrata Chindarkar and research associate Sanchita Talukdar during her visit to Guntur where the response had been ``exceptionally good’’.

The team which interacted with the officials concerned, members of self help groups as well as residents of the villages was of the view that women preferred toilets, not just for safety and dignity, but also for maintaining health and hygiene. “We studied the behavioural aspects of women, especially those belonging to the SHGs and their awareness levels were high,” she said.

The manner in which these women slowly but steadily were motivating others to change their behaviour was positive and this had in fact given scope for practical and measurable outcomes in the areas where this drive had been launched. There are, of course, about 25 per cent who remained indifferent to the change and there was need for motivating them to change to healthy practices.

The delegation was highly appreciative of the contribution made by the local visual media as well as the song and drama teams which had a positive correlation with the people trying to switch over from their habit of open defacation. “What kind of message you are sending through the local media matters the most as local leadership has a crucial role to play in motivating the people to bring behavioural changes,” Ms. Namrata said.

There was, however, need for an in-depth study in other areas too and the delegation would continue visiting the State in the coming months. “We need to assess the situation in areas where there is scarcity of water and awareness levels are not so high,” she said.

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Printable version | Jul 10, 2020 1:54:43 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/Financial-subsidies-end-open-defecation-in-AP-says-NUS-team/article14019531.ece

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