The Nirmal Bharat Yatra

was a sanitation & hygiene awareness & behavior change campaign conceptualized & implemented by WASH United & Quicksand. It travelled 2,000 kms across rural parts of 5 Indian states between 2nd October 2012 & 19th November 2012.

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A Small Story of Inspiration

Just outside our carnival grounds in Gorakhpur, Ram Prakash wheeled his cart over every single day with his son at 4:00  to set up his egg stall. They must have served every combination of bread, egg, and spices possible on neatly-cut squares of newspaper, or in plastic bags for to-go orders. I'm sure that the groups of Yatra visitors and staff members that enveloped his cart every evening supplied him months worth of business in just a few days – and created months worth of garbage, most of which inevitably ended up right back in nearby streets and fields. When I came for one last omelette on the final night of the event, he had set up a small metal trash bin next to his stall. When asked about it, he said that the Yatra was doing so much to help his country, it was the least he could do. While this may seem like a small gesture, during my six weeks in India I have visited dozens of street-side stalls and seen exactly two garbage cans, including this one.


Although addressing the overwhelming problem of garbage disposal in India isn't part of the official mission of the Nirmal Bharat Yatra, open defecation is only one source of water pollution, contamination
from loose trash also ends up in streams, streams, lakes, groundwater, and eventually, drinking water sources. It is rewarding for all of us here on the Yatra to see this unforeseen positive effect on the communities we've touched.

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