Bhubaneswar: A one-day workshop on Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) was organized by the Panchayati Raj & Drinking Water Department, Government of Odisha in collaboration with UNICEF and local and national development partners in Bhubaneswar on Thursday.
The objective of the workshop was to analyze the status of progress of Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6), which is to ensure that everyone in the world has access to lasting and safe water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services in Odisha. It also aimed to provide an overview of the enabling environment required to ensure safe and lasting services to all – it looked into the water, sanitation, and hygiene policies, processes, finances, institutional capacities, etc. The workshop also included deliberations with multiple stakeholders on strengthening, convergence, and accountability.
At the outset, Sushil Kumar Lohani, Principal Secretary, Panchayati Raj & Drinking Water Department, GoO said, “More than 30% of villages have been declared as Open Defecation Free (ODF)Plus Odisha, (ODF plus village is a village which sustains its ODF status, ensures solid and liquid waste management and visually clean), our focus is on verification of ODF Plus status. We are focussing on Urban-Rural Convergence between Panchayati Raj and Drinking Water (PR&DW) and Housing and Urban Development (H&UD) departments to cater to the Gram Panchayats/Villages beyond a 20 km radius of Urban Faecal Sludge Treatment Plants (FSTPs) to meet their desludging requirements”.
“The need of the hour is to adopt a multidimensional approach for both toilet retrofitting means converting the existing single pit toilets into twin pit toilets and Faecal Sludge management (FSM) and I am delighted that Odisha is leading these innovative approaches in the country,” he added.
B Parmeswaran, Director, Drinking Water Department, GoO said, “Construction of individual soak pits which has been the norm under Swacchh Bharat Mission (SBM-G) Odisha has also been taken up under the ongoing Sujalam 3.0 campaign on a war footing. So far, Odisha has been successful in emerging as a top-performing state in this campaign”.
He further said “On the water front, the government provides safe and adequate drinking water to every household through the national flagship program. The tap water connection at the doorstep has a far-reaching socio-economic impact on rural livelihood systems.”
The participants focused on the sustainability of the WASH service and emphasized systems strengthening, developing tools and frameworks, and identifying locations for qualitative data collection and convergence of partners.
Development partners like UNICEF, Water Aid, Water For People, SuSanA and IRC who were present on this have shared a mission to develop strong and resilient local, state, and national water, sanitation, and hygiene systems.
“Children and their families in poor and rural communities are most at risk of being left behind. Governments must invest in their communities if we are to bridge these economic and geographic divides and realise this important human right.”, said Shipra Saxena, WASH-CCES Specialist, UNICEF.
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