Lack of education and awareness among the communities in the backward regions and in remote localities of the nation has been pushing them towards impoverished life. They are engulfed with superstitions and different socio-religious taboos; have poor awareness about cleanliness, limited or almost zero sanitation facilitie, suffer from poor health due to unhealthy and primitive life styles and demonstrate strong apathy towards any attempt of modernization. Saikat Kumar Basu, AB Canada emphasizes on delivering scientific and socio-cultural awareness among these communities through various interactive platforms (IP).
In delivering educational awareness among tribal communities via modern science communication regarding sanitation, cleanliness and healthy life styles, emphasis has to be placed on their traditional beliefs, faiths, religions and local issues/problems first, and integrating them to the ideas of modernization. Besides using local languages for better communication and generating interest on scientific awareness about good health and sanitation, it will be important to slowly inculcate their interest in modern science and technological developments through positive and multi-prong Interactive Platforms (IP). Apart fromusing IP to engage primarily school children, special emphasis must be laid in targeting the education and awareness of the women folk since they constitute the main platform on which the rural societies are fundamentally established. The approach has to help the community members in establishing their faith on modernization, healthy life styles, sanitation and cleanliness and then to facilitate logical and rational thinking.
The WTO has identified India as the nation with least toilet to population ratio. Only 69 % elementary schools have girl’s toilets. The Indian government has pledged to build toilets for over 600 million people by 2019 and to fulfil this, Clean India Mission has been launched. However, it seems to be restricted predominantly to the urban centers. The rural areas are grossly neglected and one can well imagine what could be the situation in the remote and rural backward regions.
One of the biggest loopholes in the security of the rural poor, especially of women, is the absence of toilet facilities within the residences. Just by increasing residential toilet facilities, the security of the rural poor women across the nation could be increased several folds. On top of this, open air defecation has serious environmental consequences. It is necessary that the Clean India Mission (CIM) must work in close coordination with a Safe India Mission (SIM) to establish in house (interior /internal/closed) toilet and latrine facilities in the entire rural sector of the nation with priority to promote better health, cleanliness and sanitation in one hand and ensure safety and security of rural women on the other. In addition, initiatives must be taken to educate and empower the rural women.
The challenges of sanitation and hygiene education among backward communities and in remote localities are as follows:
- Lack of education and awareness.
- Lack of primary, secondary and higher secondary schools, vocational training institutes and colleges in the locality.
- Poor economic development and annual income of local residents.
- Lack of interest and enthusiasm among parents to send their kids to schools even when these facilities are available thereby cutting them off from the opportunities of modern education.
- Many families have their kids as the first generation school goers and hence they have considerable challenges in continuing their education and adopting to modern life styles different from their age old traditional ways.
- Traditional negative faiths and local customs in preventing kids from going to school. Girl children are worse effected preventing them from getting exposure to school education.
- Lack of understanding about their basic rights and privileges provided by the government and local administration.
- Lack of development and progress in backward areas and remote locations due to poor infrastructure, connectivity and communication network.
- Lack of modern health units and facilities thereby forcing people to depend on quacks and local, indigenous medicines.
- Religious and caste feuds fragmenting society along sectarian lines along with inter- and intra- religious conflicts and misunderstanding among different communities, tribes clans and groups. These have indirect impacts in damaging their faiths or belief on any scientific and rational explanations.
- Overall, poor education and awareness compounded with poor economic development are pushing the backward communities and people living in remote rural localities
further away from modern education, scientific and sociocultural awareness, vocational training and better employment or job opportunities.