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Rural women in Himachal Pradesh have emerged as the driving force behind wiping out the menace of open defecation, a global expert said here Sunday.

‘The women have proved themselves as instrumental towards bringing about behavioural changes in the orthodox Indian society about sanitation and hygiene,’ said Christopher Juan Costain, regional team leader of Water Sanitation Programme of South Asia.

Addressing the concluding session of a three-day workshop here on ‘Sustainability and Rural Sanitation Initiatives in India’, he said the state has become a role model for other states in India to imbibe the spirit of women empowerment.

He said Himachal Pradesh has also set an example for others in areas like leadership of both government and non-government functionaries and motivation coupled with effective role of the panchayati raj institutions for making the total sanitation campaign a grand success.

Kamal Kar, head of Community Led Total Sanitation foundation of Kolkata, said the awareness level of people of Himachal Pradesh to keep their surroundings clean was extremely high.

The state’s gram panchayats (village councils) have been playing a pivotal role in achieving the targets under the central government’s total sanitation campaign for villages, he said.

Himachal Pradesh is poised to become totally free of open defecation by this year-end.


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