“I can see the manifold contribution of ‘Nari Shakti’, my mothers, sisters and daughters, in the next 25 years compared to the contribution in the last 75 years of India’s journey…The more we pay attention to this aspect, the more opportunities and facilities we provide to our daughters, they will return us much more than that. They will take the country to a new height.” -Hon’ble Prime Minister, Independence Day Speech, 2022
Women can help drive the change. They have been the flag-bearers of swachhata since time immemorial, not just in their homes but in society at large. In the run up to the Women’s Day on 8th March, Union Minister Shri Hardeep Singh Puri launched Swachhotsav, 3-week women-led swachhata campaign, under the Swachh Bharat Mission Urban 2.0. The campaign aims to recognize and celebrate the transition from women in sanitation to women-led sanitation. A series of events and activities will be organized across cities to celebrate women from all walks of life, who will provide leadership in making the mission of garbage free cities (GFC) a success.
When the Swachh Bharat Mission kicked-off in 2014, large-scale participation of women was witnessed in cleanliness drives, spreading awareness to use toilets, and contributing in their own way towards swachhata. Over the eight years, sanitation is clearly evolving as a key pillar of the Jan Andolan just as other important stakeholders like youth and startups. From operating material recovery facilities to initiating waste-to-wealth startups, from managing sewage treatment plants to generating opportunities of employment for others, women are leading the way.
At the launch, the first edition of Women Icons leading Sanitation & Waste Management (WINS) Challenge-2023 was announced. The WINS Challenge-2023 will recognize high-impact women entrepreneurs or women-led enterprises working to achieve urban swachhata. The nominations for the WINS Awards-2023 will begin 8th March onwards.
The Swachhata Yatra will kick-off on 10th March and will conclude on 30th March, which has been declared as International Day of Zero Waste by the United Nations General Assembly. Representatives of 34 States/UTs will be travelling to 24 States/UTs as part of the Yatra. It is a one-of-a-kind inter-state peer learning initiative that will encourage members of Area Level Federations (ALF) or Self-Help Groups (SHG) to travel to selected cities as ‘Swachhata Doots’. Also, during the yatra Women Self Help Groups (SHGs) will be invigorated to vow their commitment to the vision of ‘Garbage-Free Cities’ through the pledge for swachhata.
Swachh Mashaal March will set the tone for the ‘Women-led Swachhotsav’ on 30th March, which will follow cleanliness drives to be held at public places, open plots, water bodies, railway tracks, public toilets in every ward of a participating ULB.
Influencers are not just those on social media but even women, who are influencing groups, communities, states by contributing to the cause of public welfare in a massive way. They are launching swachhata initiatives, running them, influencing others to join in, thus providing the thrust to such drives. The campaign aims to capture the strength of such women. Cities will create a network of 75,000 GFC Influencers or Garbage Free City Influencers across India in sanitation and waste management during the campaign period. These women swachhata warriors will be trained for sanitation to create a conducive environment to mainstream their leadership in sanitation.
The women-led swachhata campaign aims to celebrate women and their leadership and contribution towards a sustainable future. The campaign aims to not only create a peer learning network, but to encourage women at large to join the mission of urban swachhata.
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