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Achhi Aadat Campaign – Contributing to the making of the Model Gram Panchayats in India in collaboration with the Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India

New Delhi (India), March 1: The imprints of Achhi Aadat Campaign (AAC)– an initiative of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) India which aims at raising awareness/knowledge of its targeted beneficiaries on the benefits of handwashing with soap and nail hygiene, has reached out to 3000 plus Model (Adarsh) Gram Panchayats across the country under Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY). JICA and IJ Kakehashi Services Pvt. Ltd. (IJK), which is the implementation partner of AAC, have recently collaborated with the Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India to facilitate the dissemination of the messages of AAC across all the model Panchayats.

In order to emphasise the importance of the message of the campaign and to ensure the ripple effect of the same across 3000 plus SAGY Gram Panchayats in India, a joint visit to two of the model Gram Panchayats in Lucknow (Durjanpur Gram Panchayat) and Sitapur (Patara Kala Gram Panchayat) districts of Uttar Pradesh were made on 21st February 2023 by a senior delegation from Delhi. This comprised of Mr. Naveen Shah, Joint Secretary, SAGY, Ministry of Rural Development; Ms. Jitsukata Miwa, Project Formulation Advisor, JICA India; and Mr. Sourabh Bhattacharjee, Head of Operations, Social Development Projects, IJK and other officials. Senior officials from the State Government of Uttar Pradesh also accompanied the delegation during the visit. Moreover, the event in Patara Kala Gram Panchayat was graced by the presence of Honourable Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha, Shri Rajesh Verma who appreciated the event and tweeted about the Mid Media Campaign conducted during the visit under the banner of AAC. This tweet was further endorsed by the Honourable Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi.

The key highlights of the visit included a street play/ Mid Media Campaign conducted by Samvad Samajik Sansthan, a local NGO on the importance of handwashing with soap and nail hygiene, and an appropriate hand washing demonstration by Ms. Sangeeta Yadav, Project Coordinator, IJK. In addition, the corresponding officials in the State Government and the nodal officers were briefed about the key objectives of the Achhi Aadat Campaign.

According to the Joint Secretary, Ministry of Rural Development, there is a need to improve the knowledge level of the beneficiaries on the importance of hygiene, and to bring in a desired change in their behaviour the Achhi Aadat Campaign can play an important role as it also complements the objectives of the Mission LiFE and SAGY. The Head of the Operations, Social Development Projects, IJK mentioned that the association with the Central Government and getting endorsements from the top leadership will lead this campaign to achieve new heights of success and purpose.

In 2021, JICA India launched the Achhi Aadat Campaign to spread various hygiene practices among the population of India. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the campaign encouraged consistent and appropriate handwashing techniques, nail cleaning, and other hygiene practices. In continuation, JICA in partnership with IJK, collaborates with government bodies, private Japanese companies, or NGOs, to promote awareness among the people of India.

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