According to latest census of 2011, 93 percent of the people of Dumka District are defecating in the open, one of the prime reasons of waterborne disease induced infant mortality. Santhals and Pahadiy tribe, one of the endangered communities of India, mostly populate Dumka.
As a partner of GSF AIDENT Social Welfare Organization is striving hard to change the scenario in Dumka district and create a model which is not only replicable but also fit to be scaled up. In the last four years of its partnership with the people of Dumka AIDENT has reached out to around 1000 villages and working with the primary stake holders to make the village Open Defecation Free (ODF) as the first step of its programme. Out of these villages around 250 villages have already achieved ODF status. Which is incidentally around 40 percent of the village made ODF in the last four years in Jharkhand
What makes this project different from all the other sanitation drive is the complete ownership of the project by the villagers themselves. This project is largely sustained by the desire of the villagers to live a healthy and dignified life. As a part of this project every household of these villages are not only having a toilet, made by their own effort but they have started using that also. A dramatic change witness in the sanitation practices of the district and would take the individualís attitude and community participation in the up keeping of hygiene and sanitation to a new level. Once the village community is made aware by the AIDENTís effort about the very important role of sanitation and hygiene in the life of community, family and individual and how it influences their socio-economic condition. They take upon themselves the task of not only constructing toilet but also ensure that each and every family member start using toilet. The Dumka experiment is an example of how an empowered community can change the way it treats sanitation.
The whole process is completely community owned and designed and using tools of Community Led Total Sanitation as well. This strategy has yielded results, which have made it a place of must visit for everyone who works in the field of sanitation.