This will spur government action and mobilise public support for sanitation workers.


The wider public, through its misuse of sanitation systems, exacerbates challenges for workers and makes their job more dangerous. Additionally, the push for cosmetic cleanliness has proven to be an increased burden on sanitation workers who lack basic financial and health provisions. There is an urgent need for widespread public action and advocacy to motivate a systematic meaningful change in the lives of sanitation workers.

Bearing this in mind, we are proposing a ‘Safe Sanitation Public Awareness Campaign’. Some preliminary features of this campaign could include national and regional news reporting on the need to be responsible users of sanitation systems, government initiatives, innovations and worker deaths, amplifying social media coverage, and using celebrities to influence change.

Well publicised (national and international) campaign on an ongoing basis. The campaign could cover, among other things:

  • Types of sanitation work and working conditions
  • Issues faced by workers (financial, social and health)
  • Interventions required to address the above
  • Interventions and pilots being implemented
  • Recognition of impactful work in the space
  • Safety and livelihoods status of workers
  • 360 degree media coverage:
    • News (print and online): Informational reporting on govt. initiatives, innovations, worker deaths
    • Television: Focused campaigns on the topic, featuring influencers and personalities (film stars, cricketers, etc.)
    • Film: Mini-documentaries
    • Social media: Amplifying the buzz created by other mediums


Types of work: all

Gender: Male and female

Employment nature: Contractual and permanent

Personas: All personas


  • NDTV (national media house) has focused on manual scavenging in its Swachh Cleanathon and other segments; brought in celebrities to speak about the issue
  • U.S. govt. released a 3-months “Tips From Former Smokers” anti-smoking campaign featuring stark images and emotional pleas from ex-smokers led to 200,000 peoplequittingsmoking (2012)
  • Media has played a key role in catalyzing adoption and usage of toilets as part of the SBM


  • Sustained commitment from media houses
  • Training of journalists to ensure they understand the issue correctly, and are able to cover it smartly

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