Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Namita Banka marches on with determination to provide sanitation solutions

How often has the sight of someone defecating in public made you cringe? Are you among those who dreads the thought of entering train toilets? Well that’s two things you have in common with the lady who decided to do something about it — Namita Banka who has taken up the challenge of revolutionising sanitation for both rural India and the Indian Railways.

Having started her career as a jewellery designer in Surat, Namita moved to exploring new career options when she relocated to Hyderabad. She first tried her hand at solid waste management and ended up making a huge lose. She then moved to supplying green office stationery which is when she was introduced to the Railways only to be drawn by their problem of sanitation on trains. This encouraged her to work as a liaison agent for Controlled Discharge toilets where she learnt the ground realities. About the same time Namita chanced upon a course in NGO Management & Social Entrepreneurship at the Centre for Social Initiative & Management (CSIM) “I always wanted to do my bit for the environment and the course helped me realise the importance of sustainable change. This was the turning point in my life and I got the clarity I required.”

Going forward Namita confidently choose the social entrepreneurship model and set up Banka Bioloo Pvt Ltd using the Bio Digester technology patented by DRDO. Today four years and several bio toilets later she has the bull by its horns and stands tall, transformed into one among the Nations foremost total sanitation solution providers. After receiving awards and recognition, Banka is all for young graduates taking up social entrepreneurship as India has many such social challenges. “I see toilets as a basic necessity and not a facility to be provided as a public service. There is a huge disparity with half of our citizens having three toilets in one home while the other half does not have even one. India needs 12 crore toilets and surely I cannot make them all,” she says.

Namita laments too that the girl child is unfortunately the worst affected and often times answers nature’s call under threat to her own safety. Keeping this in mind she introduced the “Gift a Loo” concept that facilitates philanthropists contributing towards ready to install toilets in schools, villages and public spaces. If you are fortunate to be among the privileged few perhaps it’s time to think about the millions who deserve this basic convenience just as much.


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