Under the ambitious initiative of Centre’s Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), Jharkhand has emerged as the role model for open defecation-free (ODF) state. According to officials, delegations from abroad are coming to the state to study ODF success stories.
A 35-member delegation from Nigeria is on a three-day visit to Jharkhand’s Hazaribag district from Thursday. The team has undertaken a case study in four panchayats under three blocks to understand the initiatives and work done to make the district ODF.
The team comprises officials from the Nigerian government and delegates from World Bank and UNICEF.
According to a report, prepared jointly by the World Health Organization and UNICEF in 2014, Nigeria, after India, ranks second with the highest number of people defecating in the open. While in African continent, Nigeria ranks first.
In November 2018, all 24 districts in Jharkhand, where tribal and adivasi population form the majority, were declared ODF. However, India’s ranking is expected to improve in the next survey, because of the Swachh Bharat campaign.
The Hindustan Times, quoting the Nigerian delegates, reports the Nigerian team members said that they had approached the Government of India for a comprehensive study of ODF campaign under Swachh Bharat Mission.
“The Government of India suggested that we visit Hazaribag for better study, as the district has done unprecedented work in the field of sanitation,” said a delegate.
Jadhav Vijaya Narayan Rao, Hazaribag District Development Commissioner (DDC) said, “Poverty was a major hurdle for ODF here, which is not the case in Nigeria. They need a case of behavioural change among citizens.” She added, “In Hazaribag, [the ODF implementation team] not only built toilets but also ensured their use by bringing about a behavioural change among the people, which was a major challenge. The Nigerian team would study how Hazaribag people adopted the change.”