Habitat for Humanity, an NGO engaged in housing and sanitation, has initiated a sanitation behaviour change movement around the coastal belts of Puducherry using street plays and dance skits.
Rolled out under the ‘Sensitise to Sanitise Campaign’, the drive focused on bringing behavioural change among coastal residents and raising the need for sanitation hygiene.
The programme reached out to over 600 coastal residents who were sensitised on the importance of hygiene, especially the need to end the practice of open defecation, and the risks of disease from poor sanitary lifestyles.
As part of a handwashing drive, residents — especially children — were taught to properly wash hands to prevent diseases such as diarrhoea and cholera, which are major killers in India.
According to Rajan Samuel, managing director, Habitat for Humanity, India, more than 70 per cent of Indians practise open defecation due to lack of access to functional sanitation facilities.
“Even where facilities are available, people prefer to practice open defecation due to cultural and social barriers…we are keen to bring about behavioural change through structured education and awareness campaigns,” he said.