“Scavenging community is empowered to access their rights without any caste-based discrimination and enjoy dignified life in society. Manual scavenging on every form is eradicated, cleaning of under-ground and septic tanks is fully mechanised to prevent any injury, disease & death and safety and hygiene is ensured in sweeping occupation.”
This programme was initiated in 2005. It started from Ahmedabad and by 2011, had its presence in 5 states, reaching out to 12 CBOs. Multistate work continued till 2018. Since 2020, Garima programme focuses on Gujarat and it is still continuing in Ahmedabad city, Khambhat & Petlad towns of Anand district.
To address all these challenges, we have developed a two-pronged approach:
1. Firstly, it focuses on eradication of the system of manual scavenging and related inhuman practices. Our vision is that the sanitation work is done using appropriate technology and with dignity. This involves all sanitation workers including manhole workers are provided proper equipment, appropriate technology is used for cleaning of underground drainage, open drainage and septic tanks. The local governments have to ensure that open defecation is not practiced and is not cleaned manually. To ensure the all above, the programme monitors the implementation of eradication of manual scavenging Act 2013 and also supports government in its implementation. To achieve the above goal, we make the government more responsive through effective engagement and our monitoring mechanism through active community voluntary leaders and community-based organizations of the community engaged in sanitation work.
2. The second approach is to empower the sanitation community, develop leadership of community members and promote and strengthen community-based organizations (CBOs) led by the leaders from the community engaged in sanitation work. Based on our experiences, we believe that community-based leadership and organizations is the most sustainable and effective approach. We have experimented with this approach in Gujarat and supported other organizations across the country and everywhere this has turned out to be a viable, sustainable and effective solution.
Our aim of Garima Programme is to completely eradicate the practice of manual scavenging in any form - cleaning of open defecation sites, cleaning septic tanks and sewer lines. We believe that this work should be fully mechanized to become caste agnostic. To attain this aim, we have developed five key objectives of the intervention:
Identify technological solutions for sewer line and septic tank cleaning in consultation with sanitation workers and academic institutions. Work with the government proposing safe technological solutions to be adopted at all levels, ensuring complete eradication of manual scavenging practice.
Complete ban on manual cleaning of open defecation sites, dis-functional public toilets in Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation area.
Sensitize sweepers on use of personal safety equipment and form a habit among them to regularly use safety equipment. To begin with, provide personal safety equipment like boots, masks, gloves, caps and aprons to about 1000 sweepers. Identify change leaders among sweepers and through them influence local civic bodies to provide personal safety equipment to all sweepers in their jurisdiction.
To promote and operationalise 5 Entitlement Facilitation Centres (EFCs – Adhikar Prapti Seva Kendra) to facilitate community’s access to rights & entitlements. Here the approach is to lead this initiative by building capacity of community based voluntary leaders and community-based organizations (CBOs) and setting up EFCs in urban and semi-urban areas. So that community engaged in sanitation work can access their due entitlements without any discrimination.
Develop a culture of education by setting up and running model education support centres for primary school children from the community engaged in sanitation work. Also, to build aspirations of and motivate adolescence to study further, set up learning centres for students and drop out to appear for class 10 board examination. To encourage the community to enter other occupations, provide vocational skills training and facilitate wage and self-employment among youth. To help communities get access to healthcare facilities, organize health check-up camps, engage with Urban Health Centres and private hospitals so that they provide healthcare facilities to the community.