Wednesday, July 25, 2007

"Saaf Sehai Say Het Lai!"

This week has been action-packed everyday, challenging, and exhausting for our whole team as we are all determined to make our ambitious sanitation project successful, sustainable, and tailored to incorporate community input at every step.

With the project in full swing, our team felt a need to educate all members of the community about the details of our project and how to make their involvement positive so that our project could be carried out as we envisioned it. Julie and I volunteered to be the Community Education coordinators. Without community knowledge of the project, the project’s benefits, how to use the bins, and how to view this project with the right attitude, a majority of the community would not be likely able to accept and support this project and the project would not be successful in its implementation. Everyone we have spoken to has told us one our biggest obstacles will be changing people's mindsets and habits, but we are up to the challenge!

Our first day of community education was a launch of bright colorful posters with our slogan "Saaf Sehai Say Het Lai!" meaning "Be clean...Be healthy!" and our iconic trashbin man. Our posters advertised when we would be introducing the trashbins in the community (Monday) and were to generate hype and knowledge about our project launch.

Sammy, Priya, Meenu and Julie creating our posters and writing the Hindi slogan.
Our pretty posters. To protect them from monsoon rains we "laminated" them. Lamination is an option here, but the cheap way to do it is to get "plastic cover" from the local stationary store (~$0.25 a meter) and create your own plastic covering. It's basically an akward stiff plastic bag for posters that you need to cut and secure yourself. But nonetheless, we grew fond of this new type of lamination.
In addition to our posters, our entire team did a series of short skits in places around the community educating them about the benefits of our project. Above, the team is acting in the marketplace.
A captivated audience of school children. Getting them to chant the slogan was a great idea by Yamilee and really got the message spread across the community since not many adults (especially the working males) attended our midday plays.

So you must be wondering...what are the benefits of a sanitation project aimed at reducing trash in the waterways and ground?

1. less bugs/mosquitos which breed in the stagnant trash clogged waters

2. less disease spread

3. less water cloggage

4. a nicer/clean community to live in

5. community unity around a single cause

Regular trash collection is a luxury to these people who often deal with overflowing government dumpsters and spotty/inconsistent trash bin and sewage cleaners. We sure do have it made in the U.S.

Local women fetching water. Many housewives viewed our skit!

1 comment:

Masala Admin said...

errata: Its "Saaf-Safai, Sehat Laye"!

hope India was as good to you as its been to me..!