Swachh Bachpan Muskurata Bachpan

Bihar

Water, sanitation and hygiene or WASH issues for years have been menacing the health of communities, especially in less privileged and marginalised spaces. Be it lack of proper sanitation, access to safe drinking water, availability of toilets or even lack of awareness and means to maintain satisfactory hygiene levels are detrimental to the lives of people who can’t afford it, and more to children and adolescents. Swachh Bachpan Muskurata Bachpan is a UNICEF supported initiative implemented by PHIA Foundation in collaboration with Bihar Education Project Council (BEPC). It aims at strengthening Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) amenities across 130 targeted schools located in Sherghati, Barahat, Kasba, Seikhpura and Riga Blocks of respective aspirational districts namely Gaya, Banka, Purnea, Seikhpura and Sitamarhi.

Since its inception and during the course of the programme, various innovative solutions and awareness mechanisms have been thoughtfully implemented. The programme reached out to 45,858 children enrolled in the school with 24,835 girls and 21,023 boys. It successfully tried enhancing capacities of key education functionaries and related officials on WASH components in school across all the 38 districts of Bihar and demonstrated 100 schools as replicable models with high WASH standards.

To ensure proper WASH outcomes and to build on the initiatives, School Swachhta (Sanitation) Action Plan (SAP) was launched. A foundation document that was prepared by 1250 schools with assistance from Cluster of Resource Centre Coordinators (CRCCs), Block Resource Persons and the PHIA team across five districts. The expected outcome was to build a deep understanding on the need, importance, process on various components of SAP along with government provisions (circulars and letters on 14th Finance Commission and composite grant) for resource mobilization. It also aspired to enable education functionaries for facilitating school SAP initiated across the districts in the state. 

 

Through such initiatives, PHIA Foundation with the support of Bihar Education Project Council (BEPC) and Unicef also conducted divisional level training of key education functionaries at block and district levels across the state to ensure proper institutionalization of the SAP development process in all the state run schools through a trained cadre. The training aimed to orient the education functionaries comprising Block Resource Persons, Block Education Officers, BRCs, District Project Officers, Assistant Engineers and Junior Engineers across the 38 districts on the School Swachhata Action Plan. In addition, head teachers, child cabinet and members of the School Management Committees of target schools were also trained to get a better understanding of SAP. As a result, children learned to take leadership roles in schools and participated in school cleanliness and sanitation efforts.

 

IEC related to toilet use, correct hand washing steps and water storage in the form of wall painting were done in all the schools. PHIA monitored schools to ensure that each school displayed wall painting on sanitation. Along with paintings, infrastructural changes were also made in the targeted schools. These were:

  • Soak pits were constructed in all the schools under close facilitation of on ground teams.
  • Handwash units were installed in all the 100 schools in five districts
  • With the setting up of hand wash units in schools through motor, effort has be made to get running water in school toilets.
  • Ventilation in toilets, repair of toilet floors, walls and doors to ensure safe functional toilets was done.

 

In addition, 50 Anganwadis were also identified where WASH related interventions were carried out . The innovative techniques of Soap Bank and Pad Banks where each child would contribute his/her token money to buy soaps or sanitary napkins for the public use in the school were also institutionalised.

 

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