Several communities in Odisha have very little to no access to private toilets, forcing them to resort to open defecation. As a result, they face a higher risk of exposure to infection, snake-bites, and sexual assault, particularly in the case of women and children. Furthermore, the situation is aggravated for residents with ailments. Being one of the poorest states in India, gaining access to exclusive sanitation is far-fetched for most families here.
In fact, they are so used to open defecation that many a time they do not realize the kind of diseases they are exposing themselves too! Unsafe and inaccessible sanitation is a human problem for many reasons, covering personal hygiene and dignity, disease risk, environmental impact, as well as overall developmental impact related to health status, time use and production decisions.
Gram Utthan, an organization based in Odisha, focuses on dealing with issues pertaining to livelihood, skill training, energy, and sanitation. Their core value is to enhance human dignity and work towards sustainable development. Milaap, in partnership with Gram Utthan, seeks to reach out to more such communities in rural Odisha.