The Many Forms of Progress


India Today - - SAFAIGIRI - —Amar­nath K. Menon

When his NGO helped make Than­davam­patti, a habi­ta­tion of 62 homes in Tamil Nadu’s Tiruchi­rap­palli district, In­dia’s first ODF vil­lage in 2003, Gra­malaya’s founder S. Damodaran, 55, could not have imag­ined the ini­tia­tive would one day trans­form into a mas­sive drive. Now, he runs a cam­paign for to­tal san­i­ta­tion in vil­lages and slums across south In­dia (ex­clud­ing Ker­ala), and has till date helped 47 vil­lages and 100 slums achieve the ODF tag. The project ar­eas of Gra­malaya are pro­vided with 100 per cent san­i­ta­tion cov­er­age by pro­mot­ing in­di­vid­ual house­hold toi­let fa­cil­i­ties. It works on a three-pronged strat­egy: health em­pow­er­ment through toi­lets, safe drink­ing wa­ter and hy­giene ed­u­ca­tion and eco­nomic em­pow­er­ment by pro­vid­ing liveli­hood pro­mo­tion that, in turn, en­sures so­cial em­pow­er­ment. This is done with the sup­port of the gov­ern­ment, CSR ini­tia­tives and donor or­gan­i­sa­tions. Gra­malaya also has an ini­tia­tive which of­fers loans to women to build toi­lets.

An­other of Damodaran’s ini­tia­tives is a smart toi­let con­cept. In­no­va­tive meth­ods are be­ing made use of for waste man­age­ment, in­clud­ing the re­cy­cling of waste into ma­nure via com­post­ing and the use of bath wa­ter for kitchen gardens. Damodaran has also de­vel­oped 24 low-cost toi­let mod­els. Gra­malaya is plan­ning to reach five more states in north In­dia and scale up op­er­a­tions for mak­ing an ODF In­dia.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.