CSR

Making India to have better sanitation system Ronnie Screwvala

If we believe we are solving the problem of rural India by giving them toilets, we are far from reality
Making India to have better sanitation system Ronnie Screwvala

Making sanitation as one of an important part of rural lives. Yet, their journey to make it is being a tough of. Talking about India its been years and decades and centuries where more than half percent population of the nation are being surviving without proper infrastructure, sanitation facilities and education and health services. Poverty is the word which is always associated with them. Thus to solve the complexities the government along with other private and non government organisation have started plans to ease their lives and bring solutions.

What exactly is this poverty that has crippled our nation for years, holding us back from achieving our true potential? The problem stems from a general misconception that rural India is eagerly awaiting sophisticated solution providers from urban India. If we believe we are solving the problem of rural India by giving them toilets, we are far from reality. The proposition is plagued by the underlying assumption that villagers will instantly abandon the common recourse of defecating in the open and adopt the facilities built for them, and that one year down the line these toilets will automatically be maintained, kept clean and used, observed by Ronnie Screwvala.

Similarly, our expectation of children and their parents to line up for admission by providing them school facilities, or hoping for huge turnouts at eye camps after identifying that a staggering 19% of India needs spectacles or simple cataract surgeries is sadly untrue and unrealistic. That’s because we are not attacking the core of the problem but trying to giving a synthetic solution to a complex and deeply embedded phenomenon of poverty in our society.

Beyond Sops & Support Another unfortunate truth of our country’s rural development agenda is that we have perpetuated an environment of "handouts" around our rural and less privileged communities, so much so that now most expect some form of continued subsidy and external support at every stage, which can only lead to a life devoid of any ambition and aspiration. This can never create empowerment and, in turn, never bring about permanent change. And it is permanent change that we need here on, not continued support.

To be able to truly help improve the lives of rural communities and be truly disruptive, we need to internalise four words: trust, empathy, aspiration and empowerment. There is a vast chasm of mistrust that needs to be crossed by social enterprises. And trust-building is not an overnight process. It requires sustained presence on the ground as well as ongoing communication. Too often have these communities encountered those who come enthusiastically, promise emphatically and vanish quickly. Locals need to understand and participate in the development that is proposed for them. Once trust is secured, it is essential to build empathetic relationships that transform community feedback into channels for locally sustainable solutions. These solutions then increase the access of deprived communities to essential services like education, healthcare and sanitation and, most important, creating livelihood opportunities. Only all of them together can bring out a positive change.
 

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