doddahullur

at each field visit we do we are collecting information from various stakeholders in the total sanitation campaign to include in our case study for unicef.  a typical visit begins with a kind of welcoming ceremony.  in bashettihalli, the entire GP met us at the road and showered us with flowers in a procession through the village streets.  in doddahullur the school marching band played our welcome.  next comes interviews with GP and taluk officials, as well as NGOs or other key players in implementation.  we’ll then head to the school and a child care center for interviews with students, teachers, and staff.  after that is lunch, followed by household visits.  at some point in the day we fit in a talk with the village doctor, and a focus-group discussion with women leaders of local self-help groups.  we don’t always fit everything in, which means next week we’ll be revisiting these sites to catch what we missed the first time.

what i found most impressive about saturday’s visit to doddahullur was the school.  after the marching band welcome, i talked with several very enthusiastic teachers about their role in the TSC.  not only are they instilling best practice in the minds of their students, but they’re using their respected position in the community to spread awareness beyond school walls.  during the campaign each teacher took responsibility for ten households, visited them daily, and with the help of their students convinced parents of the importance of using a toilet.  their scheme built awareness of sanitation but it also built a rapport between parents and teachers.  teachers report increased involvement of parents in all aspects of the child’s life at school.  my conversations with parents tend to back this up – they’ve been to the school, know the teachers, have seen the toilet facilities there.

we are finding all kinds of interesting ripple effects of the TSC like this: increased parent involvement in school, empowerment of women (the decision to get a toilet often comes at the prodding of women in the household, who feel greater shame in open defecation than do men), increased community participation, greater commitment to public service among government leaders, greater sense of inclusion of caste groups and other minorities.

this all sounds very rosy i know.  i promise you we are keeping a critical eye out.  i’m particularly interested to look at those phase two GPs where progress has been slower.  but a day at a school, listening to smiling children tell me all they’ve learned, always makes the world seem a little rosier.

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~ by aliciawolcott on June 22, 2010.

2 Responses to “doddahullur”

  1. Happy to hear Abhishek smiles…just not for the camera? Nice to read about your project..almost like a report in itself. Stacy

  2. that masker is good.

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