Mugemma, a young woman from a village in Andhra Pradesh, is involved in a Self-Help Group set up by EFICOR. These groups play an important role in communities, offering people a way to come together for training and support, helping them to access things they’re entitled to, and supporting them to get on their feet financially through members making small, regular savings and being able to take small loans from the group.
“In my village we did not have toilets or bathrooms, so we used to go for open defecation,” Mugemma says. “It is scary and insecure, and we feel bad about it. There was fear of snakes and scorpions.”
The women raised the issue with EFICOR staff during one of their group meetings, and the staff helped them to apply for toilets to be installed under the Swachh Bharat Mission (Clean India Mission), a country-wide campaign initiated by the Indian Government in 2014 to eliminate open defecation and improve solid waste management.
“The women were very happy to have toilets and now feel secure and safe from all sorts of dangers,” Mugemma says. “All the ladies of the villages are using toilets. Apart from this, we have also benefited with clean drinking water, roads, houses and pensions. I am grateful to EFICOR and Tearfund Australia.”