In 2008, Janiguda Village faced the same problems that many villages in Koraput district face. Poor sanitation leading to ill health; home deliveries of babies where there is a lack of capacity to deal with complications; many children out of school; and an increase in the spread of STDs.
With Ektas intervention through the Behaviour Change Communication project, many of these issues have been addressed through the implementation of a Village Information Centre and the hard work of Village Youth Volunteers (VYV).
Subash Bhatra is a VYV in Janiguda village. He has been a volunteer for one year and is also an ASHA worker and a member of the Village Education Committee. Because of the knowledge that Subash has gained from the training he has taken, the villagers are interested to listen to what he has to say.
He communicates messages about the necessity for children to attend school; information on mother to child health; and the importance of sanitation and safe sexual practice.
Since Subash has started working as a Village Volunteer he has witnessed the changes in behaviour of the villagers: All children are now in school; people are more aware of health issues concerning their newborn children; and a lot of people are taking condoms from the VIC.
Another project that was instigated by Ekta and the volunteers was the building of 70 households toilets which has seen remarkable improvements in the sanitation of the village. This has been coupled with the hand washing message.
A woman from the village recently gave birth to a baby boy. As wellas learning about first breast feeding from the VYVs, she also knows the benefits of breast feeding up to six months and not to wash her newborn child until it is seven days old to enable it to build up a defence system before it is exposed to the water.
Ekta will continue to work in Janiguda with the VYVs to ensure these messages continue to be delivered and adopted.