Nirmal Sehore WASH team had organized a two day workshop for masons in January 2014 which saw participation of 26 masons from 14 Gram Panchayats in Icchawar Block of Sehore District. Each Panchayat had nominated two masons for the training. Two masons who got motivated in the training program are now serving as ambassadors of safe sanitation in their Gram Panchayats for the WASH project. Akhilesh Verma, aged 26 years and Ashok Bhagban aged 27 years have resolved to make their Panchayats Open Defecation free. Both the masons have resolved to only take up toilet construction work till they achieve the goal of open defecation in their respective villages.
They are also working hard to spread message of advantages of twin leach pit toilets. Where applicable, leach pits provide a simple means of disposing of wastewater without harming the environment or public health. The natural microbiological processes in the ground should ensure that pathogens do not reach the groundwater. The masons are also providing tips to households on quality toilet construction including proper ventilation.
Akhilesh and Ashok are actively spreading the message of safe sanitation in their villages and amongst their other acquaintances. The training has provided them technical know how for toilet construction and also provided an opportunity to serve the society by creating awarenss on safe sanitation and its advantages. Both Akhilesh and Ashok reflect untapped human resources in communities and represent possible solutions to speed up convincing process amongst rural households to prioritize sanitation. Given their local roots, the can spread faster messages to the community who is receptive to their opinions and arguments and help in providing the right technology and quality construction for household toilets.