“Village Purelalla is slowly embracing change. A village which had no toilets at all has one community toilet today, thanks to the incessant efforts of Kavita Gautam, a GARIMA Peer Educator. “
Kavita Gautam, a quiet 19-year old is a focused student. Her college is 25 kilometres away from her village (Purelalla village, block Rampur, district Jaunpur) and she travels by a bus every day to attend college. But this strenuous routine of going to college does not deter her from taking on the responsibilities of a peer educator. She became a peer educator in mid-2014, encouraged by the field facilitator and at the behest of her Adolescent GirlsÂ Group members. GARIMA meetings brought a sea change in her and in the girls of her group. In KavitaÂs village most of the households still do not have toilets. Thus, in their group discussions the girls would always discuss the issue of toilets and how they could address the problem of open defecation in the village.
When Kavita brought this up with the field facilitator, she encouraged the girls to get together and meet the Gram Pradhan to present their proposition for the construction of toilets. Kavita unified the girls and they all met the Gram Pradhan and urged for the construction of toilets in the village. Though toilets had been a part of the agenda for the Gram Pradhan, other priorities took centre stage relegating toilets to a secondary place.
Armed with the knowledge and information provided to her in the GARIMA trainings, and having honed her skills through various sessions of the Adolescent GirlsÂ Group, Kavita confidently and patiently reasoned with the Gram Pradhan about the importance of toilets for the villagers, especially girls and women, for their dignity and their health. The Gram Pradhan, being a perceptive person, could see the point being made by Kavita and the other adolescent girls. It took a couple of months before a community toilet was made in the village, which could be used by families who do not have toilets. The Gram Pradhan has also promised the girls that he would get more community toilets made, till the time every family has a toilet of its own. This has to a very large extent solved the problem of privacy for the girls.
ÂI have been in touch with the Anganwadi Worker and the ASHA in the village to ensure proper distribution of IFA tablets to the adolescent girls in the village. With the group sessions, the girls also know the importance of IFA supplementation for adolescents. The reach out to the frontline workers for IFA and the frontline workers, too, ensure a constant supply of IFA supplementation.Â -Kavita Gautam
Slowly but surely, Kavita is effecting change in the village with her dedication, taking one step at a time. Her resolve is to continue to bring positive changes in future too.