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Strengthening WASH in Schools Across Multiple Districts in Bihar

Unicef

The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 50% of malnutrition is associated with repeated diarrhoea or intestinal worm infections as a result of unsafe water, inadequate sanitation or insufficient hygiene. Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) play a fundamental role in improving nutritional outcomes. According to Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) 2017 report estimates, Bihar accounts for 22 per cent of the 64 million (6.4 crore) households in the country without toilets. Seven of 10 people in Bihar in June 2017 had no access to adequate toilet facilities, according to the report which says at the current pace of efforts, Bihar will achieve 100 per cent toilet coverage only by 2033.

In 2014, The Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India launched 'Swachh Bharat Swachh Vidyalaya' (SBSV) initiative to ensure that all schools in the country have access to separate functional toilets for boys and girls. The initiative has defined the essential elements of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Schools which are categorized under Water, Sanitation, Hand washing with soap, Operations and Maintenance, Behaviour change activities and Capacity Building. Following the launch of the initiative and making it a successful campaign, The Swachh Vidyalaya Puraskar was instituted by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India in 2016 to recognize, inspire and celebrate excellence in sanitation and hygiene practice in schools. The explicit purpose of the awards is to honour schools that have undertaken significant steps towards fulfilling the mandate of the Swachh Vidyalaya Campaign. In Bihar, school nomination under SVP for the year 2016-17 & 2017-18 is respectively 16.24% and 8.64%.

Phia Foundation in partnership with IZAD and Pragati Gramin Vikas Samiti began implementing a project to strengthen WASH amenities in Schools across multiple districts of Bihar with support from UNICEF. The project aims to capacitate the district level education functionaries in all 38 districts of Bihar and demonstrate models of WASH standards in 105 targeted schools of Sitamarhi, Gopalganj and Shiekhpura districts.

The key objectives of the project are:

  1. To build the capacities of key stakeholders across all the Districts of Bihar on Swachh Vidyalaya Puraskar to encourage and increase the number of nominations in SVP 2018-19.
  2. To develop 110 schools across three Districts to achieve five-star level in Swachh Vidyalaya Puraskar 2018-19 and assist them in complying with the required WASH standards in Schools.

Highlights of the activities:

  1. Capacity building programs across 38 districts of key stakeholders (Cluster, block and district level education functionaries) on Swachh Bharat Swachh Vidyalaya and Swachh Vidyalaya Puraskar Components to ensure maximum number of schools in the state are nominated for Swachh Vidyalaya Puraskar 2018-19
  2. Technical support to the District level functionaries on nominations of schools for SVP 2018-19
  3. Assessment of targeted 105 schools and its gap analysis across Sitamarhi, Gopalganj and Sheikhupura districts in Bihar.
  4. Block level orientation of School Functionaries on WASH and Mensural Health Management (MHM)
  5. State level dissemination workshop on the key learnings and way forward for Clean Schools in Bihar

Since the initiation of the project from 1st September 2018, PHIA Foundation with network partners has conducted 99 trainings of district level functionaries in 29 districts of Bihar. In School intervention, liasioning with District Executive Engineers and District Education Functionaries has been established and awareness among teachers of targeted 105 schools on SVP and WASH indicators has been done and plan for improving hardware and software issues relating to WASH facilities in schools is being prepared with the support of team of District Junior Engineers.

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