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Published bySusana Walbridge
Modified about 1 year ago
In the remote villages of Uttarkashi, everyday life is a struggle.
Not only do children take dangerous paths to reach school…
but surveys revealed that basic hygiene awareness and sanitation facilities were also often missing at school.
Community consultations were held to form School Management Committees
with principals and teachers serving as a core driving force for the initiatives.
Student Health Clubs were formed in all the 140 selected schools…
enthusiastically driven by the children
and awareness sessions were held on simple steps like hand washing.
With landslides polluting water supply in many places, water filters were also provided to a few schools.
Of these, 25 of the most needy were picked to construct sanitation facilities.
These ‘child-friendly’ units took into account age and height.
Separate sanitation units were built for boys and girls…
with changing rooms and incinerator facilities that are improving girl’s attendance during menstruation.
Each student contributes a small amount per month for maintenance and bits are also taken from government maintenance and beautification funds.
Clearly, good hygiene is slowly becoming a habit…
and the health clubs are actively discharging their duties to create cleaner, safer environments!
women’s club women’s club women’s club Nirmal Gram Villages
7 Plan-SMBMA supported villages across Bhatwari and Dhunda have won ‘Nirmal Gram Puraskar’: a government award for open-defecation free villages.
Our role was mostly sensitisation – propagating the sanitation need among the leaders and community as a whole.
But the initiative was taken by the Pradhan and the PRI members
with active Mahila Mandals often being the driving force
and involving all generations of the community.
Every household in these villages now has a toilet; all following the leach pit system.
These were constructed by the families themselves; using existing government schemes with some material support from Plan-SBMA.
Toilets were also built in all schools and anganwadis; with separate ones for boys and girls above the primary level.
It’s a proud feeling when every road in your village is clean!
There were also local innovations such as small compost pits around the village…
and the building of rain water harvesting tanks; now an additional income source for some.
Having passed the extensive evaluations, the award money was put towards further village development…
while anyone reverting to open defecation is convinced with community pressure; rather than a fine.
However, constant water supply to support the hardware remains a challenge in several villages.
With one giant leap forward already accomplished, they are now looking to solve this core problem!
Produced for: Plan India Produced by: Safer World Communications, Photographs: Sarika Gulati, Jyotsna Singh, Andrew Edwards and Sri Bhuvneshwari Mahila Ashram (SBMA)
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