In a bid to contribute towards the Prime Minister’s Clean Green Pakistan Movement, WaterAid in collaboration with District Government Muzaffargarh and development partners celebrated the Open Defecation Free District Muzaffargarh.
The ceremony was held on Wednesday, November 27, 2019 at District Council Hall, Muzaffargarh. The Minister of State for Climate Change Ms. Zartaj Gul graced the occasion as Chief Guest, with CEO Wateraid UK Mr. Tim Wainwright as Guest of Honour, CD WaterAid Pakistan Mr. Siddiq Ahmad, DC Muzaffargarh Mr. Ali Shahzad, Deputy Secretary Local Government Punjab Mr. Najeeb Aslam and other local notables participated as well. Memorial plaque of ODF was also unveiled by the Chief Guest.
On this occasion, Mr. Tim Wainwright CEO WaterAid UK expressed his views “Clean green Pakistan campaign is widely recognized in the world and has shown Pakistan’s strong commitment to water and sanitation. In Pakistan, sanitation services need more focus and financing to enhance the services quality from basic to safely managed sanitation. The access to safe sanitation will save lives and help Pakistan reducing the poverty. The strong political ownership of the campaign right from the prime minister himself is encouraging. Now if the behavior change and community mobilization can speed up the journey of clean green Pakistan.
After the launch of Clean Green Pakistan Movement by the Prime Minister in 2018, District Government in Muzaffargarh synergized efforts all the organization working in area to accelerate the access to decent latrine. The target of 100% latrine coverage in the district is achieved. South Punjab takes lead in the implementation of the hygiene and sanitation component of the Clean Green Pakistan Campaign.
The Minister of State for Climate Change Ms Zartaj Gul Wazir while addressing the participants said, “WaterAid has proactively contributed towards Prime Minister’s Clean and Green Pakistan Movement.” She further said achieving the target of complete latrine coverage for a whole district is testimony to the fact that it has worked with great commitment and dedication to realize its plans.”
With an aim to develop infrastructure in the district the low-cost demo latrine models were constructed in communities and the selected communities and schools were rewarded with water schemes. Local supply chain mechanisms by training local entrepreneurs and sanitary marts; development of end pipe decentralized sewerage treatment units (DSTUs); establishing local water quality testing facility to make the ODF process sustainable.
In his address the CD WaterAid Pakistan Mr. Siddiq Ahmad said that WaterAid started this intervention in 2011-12 with an aim to transform the entire Muzaffargarh district as ODF through scaling up district-wide ODF model, following Pakistan’s approach to total sanitation (PATS)- a community driven approach to increase the access to latrine at homes. He also said that Muzaffargarh was ranked 35th out of 36 districts on access to improved sanitation just one step lower than Rajanpur. The district has now achieved a status where all the households have access to toilets however to ensure comprehensive latrine usage a final push will be needed to change behavior on proper use of latrine.
Making an entire district open defecation free is a systematic process with strong involvement of the communities. The project teams in collaboration with government mobilized community through formation of villages and school WASH committees for identification, training and engagement of community resource persons, PATS triggering including development of village mapping and plans.
The DC Muzaffargarh, Mr. Ali Shahzad appreciated and extended felicitations relevant public sector departments, all development partners and local communities for putting together all practical efforts to make Muzaffargarh Pakistan’s First Open Defecation Free District.
Pakistan has to make monumental efforts to end open defecation and provide clean drinking water. Currently, as much as 21 million of Pakistanis lack access to clean drinking water and about 70 million remains without access to improved sanitation; with a greater proportion 31% in rural areas. More than 53,000 Pakistani children die every year from diarrheal disease mainly due to unsafe water, poor hygiene and sanitation.
Clean drinking water and safe sanitation is a human and right and access to these services will save thousands of lives every year, particularly children.