The issue of Open Defecation is not new to India. In fact, apart from the direct consequence of health hazards that we can quickly think of, I am also reminded of the social prejudices that sweepers and cleaners had to face in old times due to the concept of Open Defecation thanks to a book that I recently read (whose details would be up soon in a post). They were considered dirty people, while (literally) they were doing the brave and extremely helpful task of cleaning other people’s shit. I am also reminded of the times we cousins had made fun of my grand mom’s neighbors because they used to defecate outside their home, as they did not have a toilet. I am in my early twenties, so this example doesn’t belong to an ancient age or something.
The tragedy with this issue is that having a toilet in one’s home is considered more of a secondary ‘facility’ that one can have instead of a ‘necessity’. Hygiene cannot be one of the topmost priorities in a country full of people. Honestly, even in my mind, it is not as big a concern as others. Hence, it is extremely important that people who did not have the privilege of getting education and obviously, do not consider toilets a necessity should be made aware of the need of maintaining hygiene and the health hazards defecating in open poses. Domex, the flagship sanitation brand of Hindustan Unilever, has joined the cause of UNICEF to raise awareness against open defecation and the UNICEF’s community initiative of raising awareness about hygiene practices and sanitation. If you are reading this post, you should definitely visit http://www.domex.in/ to know more about the cause. The health hazards, positive stories about areas where toilets got built recently, organizations involved etc is mentioned on the website. Domex also mentions that they will initiate the Domex Toilet Academy Programme on 19th November, World Toilet Day, and through this programme they aim to build 24,000 toilets by 2015. Now comes the catch. There is a ‘Contribute Now’ tab on this website that mentions that for every click, Rs. 5 is donated by the company towards this cause. In their own words: You can bring about the change in the lives of millions of kids, thereby showing your support for the Domex Initiative. All you need to do is “click” on the “Contribute Tab” on www.domex.in and Domex will contribute Rs.5 on your behalf to eradicate open defecation, thereby helping kids like Babli live a dignified life. Now, you ask, what’s the catch in this? The thing is I have myself not figured out how this contribution or donation is happening. As per the site, it is mentioned that Domex is giving its consumers the opportunity to help improve access to basic sanitation through contributing 5% of its proceeds from the sale of specially marked bottles of Domex to support UNICEF’s CATS (Community Approaches to Total Sanitation) programme. So, I am not able to figure how clicking on the ‘Contribute Now’ tab is helping. Maybe they are contributing in two ways, by contributing 5% of the proceeds from the sale of Domex and also by donating five rupees per click of this ‘Contribute Now’ tab. However, if they were doing so, they would definitely highlight it. I have clicked on the ‘Contribute Now’ tab myself and request you all to do it too, because it’s not going to harm anyway, it would either help or not. I would also request you to read the details of the initiative on the website and let me know if you figure out the contribution process.
PS: This post was written under Indiblogger’s happy hours campaign: #ToiletForBabli. Search for IndiBlogger Happy Hours if you want to participate too.
PPS: I love the design of the website mentioned in the post and how effectively it highlights the issue. Let me know what’s your opinion on that and do click on the Contribute tab on the website. In any case, it won’t harm. 🙂 However, if you happen to know how this contribution is working, please make me aware as well. 🙂