Open defecation remains a persistent and pervasive problem across the country. It is particularly acute in rural areas where there is a lack of awareness regarding the causality between open defecation and health related issues, especially of diarrhoeal diseases which are a major cause of child mortality in India. ITC’s Health & Sanitation Programme seeks to address this serious issue by supporting the building and usage of low-cost family-owned toilets in the catchments of its manufacturing units, the majority of which are located in rural areas.
ITC’s strategy is centred on galvanising a people’s movement and mobilising empowered grassroots institutions that take the lead in building family-owned toilets. Intensive awareness generation programmes customised to target men, women and children combined with a mandatory financial contribution from participating families help to ensure high and sustained usage levels of the constructed toilets. Wherever possible, the initiative works in active collaboration with government sanitation schemes.