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  • Shanti Devi standing proudly in front of the toilet she had constructed for her family.
    AKDN / Christopher Wilton-Steer
Shanti Devi talking about the impact of toilets on her community

In 2015, Shanti Devi constructed a toilet for her family of eight. Prior to that, she – like most of her neighbours in Muzaffarpur (Bihar, India) – had never had access to a toilet in her life. Since then, Shanti has made it her mission to help other families to understand the importance of safe sanitation and the way to go about building affordable toilets for themselves.  The AKDN Comprehensive Sanitation Initiative in India is supporting communities like Shanti’s to construct sanitation units across 100,000 households and 538 schools in India, to benefit more than 700,000 people across six states: Bihar, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Telangana.  Under this initiative, hundreds of masons are being trained in appropriate toilet construction techniques. Tens of thousands of schoolchildren are learning about safe hygiene through puppetry and song. These activities support the Indian Government’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, or Clean India Mission, to create an open defecation free India by 2019.  They also support the sanitation target of the Sustainable Development Goals, which calls for safely managed sanitation facilities for all by 2030 and the elimination of open defecation. Watch this 43-second video, “Shanti Devi talking about the impact of toilets on her community”.