This American Lady is transforming rural India by building Eco-toilets - The Fearless Indian
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This American Lady is transforming rural India by building Eco-toilets

  • Mrinalini Singh
  • August 10, 2017
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When asked about the difference between a village and a city, most urban folks dwelling in posh localities take the liberty to explain it as a place that lacks basic amenities. While it’s easy to nonchalantly drop the scarcity of these amenities in conversation, life in 2017 can be extremely taxing for that surviving with it. Failing to see the debacle of our own mates, when the government couldn’t do much the poor conditions of villages, an American took the matters into her own hands.

Marta is an American native who settled in India in 2012 and started working in the villages of Uttar Pradesh under the project name “Better Village Better World.” Till now she has built 143 cost efficient eco toilets known as ‘evapotranspiration’, 10 ft wide and 122-meter permeable roads and french drains which help in rain water harvesting. Marta spent her own money for 82 toilets and 27 solar powered homes.

Four years ago, Marta surveyed a village in Jagatpur, Uttar Pradesh and asked all villagers what they want for their homes and their communities. The majority of the households answered that they need toilets. Marta believes that “asking, listening, observing over time is key to understanding what people want.”  Marta is also a co-author of different books, research papers and has developed a theory for three-pronged strategy on development that incorporates health, education and the pieces of infrastructure.

The toilet model Marta introduced is called evapotranspiration which is self-cleaning and requires less land. The total cost of production of these toilets is INR 9,000 as opposed to the whopping Rs 17,000 under India’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. The incredible thing about this project is that she has been spending her own money on toilets and over 27 solar powered homes. In order to keep the cost low, Marta and her team deploy recycled material as much as possible. They use broken bricks, fly ash bricks and used tired.

Other than building these toilets, Marta is also educating villagers over the significance of toilets, hygiene and healthy living conditions. Marta’s enthusiasm and dedication towards work is appreciable. Her contribution towards society is making her the real hero.


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