Project Azmat is an endeavour by the Rotaract Club of SRCC Panchshila Park and its parent club Rotary Club of Delhi Panchshila Park, District 3011, to liberate and rehabilitate manual scavengers by providing them a sus- tainable source of livelihood through development of a microenterprise and construction of proper toilet systems. This project was conferred the 2014–15 Rotaract Outstanding Pro- ject Award at the Rotaract Pre Con- vention Meet in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Project Azmat, (dignity, in Urdu), uses a multi-faceted approach for the rehabilitation of manual scavengers by providing them an alternative source of livelihood and replacement of dry latrines with proper toilets.
The repulsive act involves humans cleaning dry latrines (non- flush toilets) by picking up human excreta with their
bare hands and carrying it to the place of disposal. This practice was banned in India since 1993; however, it still contin- ues to be practiced in many parts of the country.
The club members focused on improving the health, safety and economic stability of communities of women working as manual scaven- gers. After installing pit toilets for the entire community to improve sanita- tion and prevent spread of diseases, the Rotaractors worked to empower them to build a better future for them- selves and their families. The women participated in a literacy programme and financial management training where they learned to apply their new skills to make detergent, market their product within the community, and grow their own sustainable and inde- pendent business.
Goals and Objectives Rehabilitation of women by organis- ing them into a cooperative society and providing them basic literacy and financial training and training in detergent making to enable them to pursue an alternative livelihood. The business model will generate enough revenue to increase their income manifold.
The dry latrines are demolished and two-pit toilets are constructed across the village. These toilets incur no maintenance cost, require little water and convert waste into manure. The Club has collaborated with Sulabh International, an NGO, to construct 128 two-pit toilets to ensure that the women do not go back to that profession.
A community of 22 women manual scavengers was identified in Nekpur near Ghaziabad,
in February 2012 with the help of the Safai Karamchari Andolan (SKA). They lacked basic amenities such as education, health care and sanitation.
“The sustainable business model not only increase their income level but also ensure the well- being of the community.”
These women are now proficient in making environment-friendly Phe-nyl and powder detergent under the brand name ‘Neki.’ The products are certified under Grade 2 quality of detergents by an Indian Standards Institution’s approved laboratory.
RC Delhi Panchshila Park takes care of the commercial marketing.
Sustainable business model ensure the well-being of the community and income increase is 7 times their current earnings.
Abolition of the deplorable and pitiable practice of manual scaveng- ing. The women will not face differen- tial treatment and will be able to hold their heads high with dignity.
The two-pit toilet conserves water and converts human waste into nutrient-rich manure, which creates a positive environmental impact and also promotes the agrarian economy of the village.
In recognition of the excellent social impact, Project Azmat has received awards from various other organisation.
Coupled with the indignity of their job, they were earning a meager Rs10 per day in kind. The women are the sole bread winners of the family as the men remain unemployed for large parts of the year.