Just 12 days after the order to states to construct over 5 million toilets by the end of August, the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation issued another order, addressing the need to “sensitize the rural population on sanitation,” by educating about and encouraging the building and use of toilets. The order accurately points out that:
One of the biggest challenges in making the country ODF is triggering behavioural change in the population to accept the need for building and using toilets. A large number of people amongst the Indian population are still unconvinced of the need to build toilets in their homes. In this connection, coordinated effort by all the Departments of the State Government that have interface with rural populations is required.
It is heartening to see the new government directly acknowledging the lack of demand for toilets, and talking about the need for behavior change. In asking several ministries (Education, Health, Panchayati Raj, Women and Child Development) for their participation, and encouraging “functionaries at all levels to help India become ODF by 2019,” we’re cautiously optimistic that this is just the beginning of a larger plan to launch a latrine use revolution in India.