Rashid Ali gets his daily rush of adrenalin by convincing villagers to construct toilets, so as to improve their quality of life. He helps Finish Society in corporation with Unicef become Open Defecation Free (ODF), in two areas in Uttar Pradesh.
Rashid is better known as the ‘Pied Piper of Mainpuri block’, since he believes triggering behaviour change is best done by exercising his vocal chords as a musician: “Music cuts across religious and social barriers, bringing in its wake, peace and harmony”.
Rashid uses different ways to win people’s confidence and trust. “While I tell my Muslim brothers that cleanliness is a way of life spelled out in the Quran, I invoke the slogan, Swachhtha hi seva hai, (Cleanliness alone is service) to motivate my Hindu friends.”
Rashid takes immense pride in the fact that it was he who was asked to conduct the baseline survey in the two areas in 2011. “The job was assigned to me because of my honesty and transparency.”
Open defecation free
Sirsinghpur Newada has a population of over 2000 residents, and he has constructed 178 toilets. Soon after, the area was declared ODF, and this motivated him to shift focus to Sikandarpur. Here too, of the 240 toilets that need to be constructed to declare the area ODF, Rashid has single-handedly got 204 toilets constructed.