Picture shows(Left to Right) Dr. Madhulika Jonathan, UNICEF Chief and Giridih Deputy Commissioner Uma Shankar Singh felicitating Jal Shishya in Giridih on February 15,2017.

The district administration in partnership with panchayats, community representatives and UNICEF celebrated the achievement of open defecation free (ODF) status of 29 villages from three panchayats of Harila, Chapuwadih and Chotki Kharagdiha in Bengabad block in Jharkhand’s Giridih district today.

The ODF validation in these villages by the committees formed at panchayat and district level has been completed,claimed UNICEF.

On this occasion PRI members, Jal Sahiya and other sanitation champions were felicitated for their exemplary contribution in making their panchayats open defecation free.

The Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation Department, Government of Jharkhand is committed to achieving the goal of open defecation free Jharkhand by 2018.

The district administration in Giridih has taken up this challenge and is leading from the front to create open defection free communities with UNICEF technical support. In the financial year 2015-16, Giridih stood second in the construction of household toilets in the state. Till date 140 villages in the district have been declared open defecation free.

These toilets have been built using SBM funds as well as MGNREGA and 14thFinance Commission resources available with panchayats.

The success of the SBM in Giridih is a result of continuously community engagement and the regular follow-up and monitoring by village committees which have helped increase the villager’s knowledge about the benefits of sanitation and ensured these toilets are used post construction. Community ownership and participation in the SBM has ensured that over 430 households have been constructed by the community members at their own cost.

The district administration has also focussed on the promotion of sanitation and hygiene in schools.  Fourteen group hand washing models have been constructed in schools where there were no hand washing facilities with the 14thFinance Commission funds.

Dr. Madhulika Jonathan, UNICEF Chief of Field office Jharkhand said, “I congratulate the district administration and the entire community on this grand achievement. The role of the entire community especially the PRI members in making Swachh Jharkhand a priority is commendable.

The construction of the group hand washing units with the 14th Finance Commission funds symbolizes the sensitivity of the PRI members towards holistic development of their community. Promoting hand washing among children will not only lead to a behavioural change but also reduce incidents of diarrhoea in the coming days.”

Uma Shankar Singh, Deputy Commissioner, Giridih said, “This year too Giridih is second in the state with a construction of over 42,000 household toilets till date. We will be able to achieve the 60,000 benchmark by end of March 2017. It is a matter of pride that two blocks of Gawan and Bengabad are likely to be declared ODF by March & May 2017 respectively.”

The celebration was attended by Kumar Premchand, WASH Specialist, UNICEF; PRI members, Jal Sahiyas and the local community.

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