An in-house feasibility study by CreditAccess Grameen team found that lack of hygiene practices and proper sanitation facilities were the main reasons behind poor health conditions in rural areas. To counteract the issue, the company had pioneered a three pronged strategy that included creating awareness, imparting training on various aspects of sanitation and providing access to affordable credit for toilet construction to needy customers since 2011-12.
Commenting on this milestone, Mr. Udaya Kumar Hebbar, Managing Director and CEO of CreditAccess Grameen, said, “We remain committed to creating a Swachh India, by enabling access to safe water and sanitation facilities. Our approach of reaching out to people at grassroots level and building a sustainable model ground up has helped us to leverage the programme. CreditAccess Grameen has been continuously working on awareness building at village level, panchayat level, our customer level as well as at schools around our branches about Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) as part of our CSR program using our employees, volunteers, wall paintings and rural street plays.
“In a distinctive sense, sanitation loans are not income generating but it creates a stream of benefits for the borrowers by reducing medical expenses, number of days lost of illness and increasing productivity. So in effect these loans can be classified as income enhancing. Furthermore, to reduce the stress of repayments, even the loan size is kept at just about Rs 15000/-, and we allow our customers to repay in two years” He added.
In the communities where CreditAccess Grameen is actively involved, the impact of its comprehensive awareness program and the affordable credit facility is very evident with people queuing up to avail the loans to build toilets. Customer awareness activities are being executed in assistance with the CSR partner NGO, Navya Disha to educate the masses. The organization aims to reach more than 2 million people through various activities such as branch staff training, gram Panchayat level awareness programs, customer orientation at group meetings, street plays, district level workshops and orientation programs for high school students.
The Company has received several awards and recognitions for its effort in providing affordable loans to build toilets and access a clean drinking water supply. In the year 2017, CA Grameen received the ISC-FICCI 2017 award for Best Financial Accessibility for Sanitation and also won the SKOCH Resilient India Award 2017 for Sanitation.