Swachh Delhi Swasth Delhi –Clean Delhi Healthy Delhi – Urban Local Governance

Action India initiated the Swachh Delhi Swasth Delhi-Clean Delhi and Healthy Delhi project in Nov 2008 in six resettlement/JJ clusters in North-east district. Bhalaswa in the North-west was included in 2011. The North-east zone in this region has the largest concentration of economically backward and poor families. They are living in the most squalid condition and human degradation, excluded from the amenities and development of Delhi as a world class city. Action India undertook a water and sanitation project to bring about the much needed change, ensuring that the urban poor live a dignified life with access to adequate essential services with an emphasis on women’s agency.

Women’s Initiative in Community Management-WATSAN –Women’s Collectives

The WATSAN Committeeis actively promoting health and hygiene practices in their community. They are monitoring the safai karamchari’s(cleaning staff) on duty and motivating their neighbours to keep their drains clean. The household garbage collection and keeping of dustbins at home is seen to be a good practice across model galees. Each area has expanded the galee model from 7/8 to 14/15 galees. The committee members have learned to write applications to concerned departments and follow up relentlessly till their demand is met. The WATSAN Committees have strategically used signature campaigns, directly meeting the officials in groups to address their problems.

74th Amendment – Urban Local Bodies (ULB)

Action India has realized that water and sanitation is an issue of good governance. The 74th Amendment provides the law which governs the ULB. The law brings about devolution of power through people’s representation at the ward level and ultimately led to more equitable distribution of resources, ensuring public services to the underprivileged. The main objective of the 74th amendment is to involve the people in the decision making process. Including the people in micro planning would lead to decentralization and ensure transparency and accountability of the State. The following structural changes are envisaged: Democratic process in local urban bodies, better coordination with State government on implementation of plans and schemes and taxes.

The three types of local urban bodies are:

  • Nagar Panchayat
  • Municipality (small town)
  • Nagar Nigam (Metro-city)

Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM)

Nowadays the most talked about topic is Cleanliness. Most of all in the context of girls and women, cleanliness applies to hygiene during periods. This is a very important aspect for girls and women and this affects them the most and it is also a topic which is the least spoken about. This subject is considered to be shameful for a woman to discuss. The society and especially a family never talks about this, as there are many unspoken social restrictions as well as superstitious beliefs attached to it. Due to this a lack of awareness about this topic is widely prevalent, which is also the cause of uncleanliness and is constantly creating potentially dangerous for women. This subject is so important that it has been discussed in the UN and other such organisations such as the UN. As a result of this a step has been taken to raise awareness about this issue and 28 February of every year is declared as a day when Menstrual Hygiene Day will be commemorated. This will be beginning of the breaking of silence on this issue and this day will be a precursor to increase awareness about Menstrual Hygiene in the world, which is the least discussed.

Action India working in Government Senior Secondary Schools to raise awareness about Menstruation Hygiene Management. The schools have started “Wash Clubs” which are training, in which a Club member will raise awareness about this subject with her peers as well. In the slums this information is being spread across through local “Women Groups”. The aim of MHM is to give emphasis on cleanliness. Action India is also using its reproductive educational program experience to teach women about health related information which has been quite helpful for women. This program also seeks to include the men of the house, so that during the days when women in the house are experiencing periods, they would be more empathetic and would also help the women in the house to do daily chores.