Patna, Aug 30: Sanjhouli in Bihar's Rohtas district, which hit headlines in July after a woman there mortgaged her 'magalsutra' to fetch money for construction of a toilet at home, today became the first Open Defecation-Free (ODF) block in the state under Swachh Bharat Mission.
"The community of the block declared their ODF status today (30 August 2016) in a function. This is the first ODF block of Bihar under Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin)," a statement from UNICEF which provided technical support said here.
The mortgage incident had taken place at Barahkhanna village in the block following which a district wide campaign, 'Mission Pratistha', was launched to make Rohtas ODF in a time bound manner, under the leadership of District Magistrate Animesh Parasher.
State Rural Development Department is implementing the mission in Bihar, the statement said.
In the first phase, Sanjhouli was taken as a pilot to understand the community process by involving all the stakeholders at all levels. The action plan for making Sanjhouli ODF was prepared just after the completion of training on Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS), supported by UNICEF, on July 6.
The highlight of the action plan was the deputation of one District Officer as a nodal person to support the community motivators during the community facilitation process, the UNICEF statement said.
In only 55 days, all the 6 gram panchayats of the block become ODF and almost 6,000 families constructed toilet in their houses.
UNICEF has provided technical support during the conceptualisation to the actual implementation and finally making the block ODF in terms of capacity building, process formulation, communication materials and monitoring of the activity.