19 November, World Toilet Day, is a stimulant to every stakeholder involved in addressing global sanitation challenge, where 2.4 billion people are struggling to stay well and work their way to a better future – all for the want of a toilet. We find it more exiting as we have had the opportunity to get to know ‘Mr. Toilet’ - Jack Sim, the founder of World Toilet Organization, whose effort led United Nations, declare 19 November as World Toilet Day in 2013. We had a benefit of his inspirational address for our SKILLS2015 Conference deliberated on the challenges and possible solutions in realizing Clean India, incidentally on last year’s World Toilet Day.

On the occasion of Word Toilet Day, it is heartening to note that few development enthusiasts both in India and abroad joined our call for collective action in addressing the global sanitation challenge with their financial contributions. We are grateful for their support and confidence in us.

We also feel happy on the occasion, for the number of rural populace with toilets at home have gone up to close to 800 (180 households) till now that help them with improved health and greater dignity through our Project Zero Open Defecation, one of our current initiatives in furthering ‘Clean India Mission’. We are committed to make the 11 selected rural communities in Andhra Pradesh totally open defecation free. We count on your continued support to make the change.

Another interesting development in November has been, the theme of our forthcoming conference, SKILLS2017: ‘Rural Empowerment for a Digital India’, gaining prominence. When conceptualizing Skills2017 a year ago, it is expected to address the critical questions related to diffusion of skills and tools required for rural economies, to ‘leapfrog’ into digitally empowered economies.

Prime Minister’s surprise announcement on 8 November demonetizing nearly 86% of the total currency in circulation, the merits and demerits, objective and manner of demonetization aside, presents a clear window of opportunity for India to zoom into a digitally empowered society. The focus of all stakeholders now is to empower the rural communities with the skills necessary for sustained economic participation digitally. SKILLS2017 being organized jointly by REEDS and LSLSI and scheduled to be held on 16-17 November 2017 in Hyderabad is thus becoming more purposeful and relevant to effect required mass behavioural change and Digital India a reality. We seek your participation too.

As the year coming to a close, it’s the time to look back on the year and remember things that were important to us, we are grateful to everyone who has been a part of our mission. Wish you a happy Christmas and great 2017.

Dr. Ravi K Reddy
Secretary, REEDS

Hyderabad, 12 December 2016
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