They Cycled 10,000 km Across 11 Countries for Eco Toilets in This Maharashtra Village

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They Cycled 10,000 km Across 11 Countries for Eco Toilets in This Maharashtra Village

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Members of Guts for Change cycling to build toilets in Darewadi village

Darewadi:  Darewadi village in Pune has become the latest village to say no to open defecation. Much before the Swachh Bharat campaign was launched by PM Modi, construction of eco-friendly toilets had begun in the village. With the PM's push for achieving 100 per cent sanitation, the group that executed the project now hopes to expand in a big way.

In 2012, four Germans -- three men and a woman cycled from Germany to India across 11 countries in five months. Guts for Change, a German organization arranged this 10,000 km cycling trip to raise money to build toilets. As a result of this campaign, Darewadi now has an eco-friendly toilet for every home.

Johann Angermann, who is a part of the project says, "For many people cycling from Germany to India is an extra ordinary endeavor. For us in Germany it's extraordinary not to have a toilet."

 The eco-friendly toilets in Darewadi village serve a dual purpose. They use a dry formula that is best suited for areas with less rainfall like Darewadi. They also produce fertilizers, by which they cut farming costs considerably.

A resident of Darewadi village told NDTV, "Earlier I used to go out and defecate. And since it was outdoors there uses to be cases of people getting infected and falling ill. There is less water here but now we can manage to finish our job in the toilets and save a lot of water."

Thomas Jakel, the founder of Guts for Change says, "We have learned so much that we believe that with a lot less cost and time we can expand this projects to the other villages. What is also interesting is that we don't have to go and promote the idea of having toilets in other villages now which was the case in this village."

The organization is now focusing in building toilets in a residential school for 400 adivasi children in Maharashtra. To raise funds for this project, they have organized a hitch hiking trip from Germany to India. Their formula of raising money is to create travel documentaries which they in turn sell to raise money. Guts for Change believes with this approach they can go a long way in changing the sanitation situation in India.

In a country where 60 per cent of the population does not have access to sanitation facilities, every endeavor counts. Encouraged by the response from villagers and the Prime Minister's focus on sanitation, Guts for Change hopes to expand their work exponentially through avenues like crowd-funding. The organization is now seeking more partners, both in Germany and India to fund their mission of building as many eco-friendly toilets as they can.
 

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