Open defecation remains a persistent and pervasive problem across the country. It is particularly acute in rural areas where there is a lack of awareness regarding the causality between open defecation and health related issues, especially of diarrhoeal diseases which are a major cause of child mortality in India. ITC’s Health & Sanitation Programme seeks to address this serious issue by supporting the building and usage of low-cost family-owned toilets in the catchments of its manufacturing units, the majority of which are located in rural areas.
ITC’s strategy is centred on galvanising a people’s movement and mobilising empowered grassroots institutions that take the lead in building family-owned toilets. Intensive awareness generation programmes customised to target men, women and children combined with a mandatory financial contribution from participating families help to ensure high and sustained usage levels of the constructed toilets. Wherever possible, the initiative works in active collaboration with government sanitation schemes. More than 20,000 toilets have been built of which 58% were constructed during the last two years.