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WASH Strategies of Schools – What is and What can be

7. Periodic and quick maintenance of toilets: In many schools the problem was not the number of toilets but number of ‘working toilets’. Due to delay in repair or maintenance, many toilets are rendered useless. A monthly check is recommended for each school. Vandalism by students is also a problem. This has to be issued at a war footing as we will generate a set of citizens who have no respect to public property.
8. Age specific sanitary-ware: In Ekya School, Bangalore, the toilets for smaller children have smaller waterclosets and sinks so they can use the toilets independently. Schools can easily replicate this model.
9. Wall Talks: As seen in Ekya School, Bangalore, at the entrance to the toilet, there is a notice board with visuals that speaks about handwashing and what to do when you use the toilet. This is an excellent idea to remind the children of good habits of sanitation and hygiene. This kind of Wall Talk was also followed by Annatta – a social initiative with the ‘Lets do some Good’ Trust in the government schools they were working with. This reinforcement through visuals was found to be very effective in inculcating hygienic habits.
10.Disposal of Sanitary Napkins: Ekya School, Bangalore, also had sensitive practices such as keeping cut pieces of newspaper in the older girls toilet that could be used to wrap used sanitary pads before disposal. Schools like Gells Memorial School, Ootacamund had an electric incinerator for safe disposal of sanitary napkins. There are other options also available such as Ashudhinashak, a low cost terracotta incinerator made by the Vadodara based Bedekar couple.
11.Dustbins: Many schools had no dustbins in classrooms. Like vandalism in toilets, even dustbins are targeted. Students can be involved in making their own attractive dustbins by upcycling cartons or paint pails by painting them and sticking pictures on them. This could instil a sense of ownership in them and also help in using them.
12.Concepts of WASH education: Concept of waste segregation, water and sanitation education should be integrated into school activities (especially when these subjects are traditionally not given much importance). The managements/state governments must allot adequate time for this alongside other subjects. Local NGOs working in sanitation and waste management are the best collaborators for this and they should be able to measure the impact. Discussions, debates, activities are the best way to inculcate good WASH habits. For this teacher training is very important.
13.Creating student committees for WASH in Schools: One of the effective methods to create awareness and maintain WASH facilities in schools is to form student committees as was seen in the Bhuwali Government School in Dungarpur, Rajasthan. The school followed a neat system which allocated responsibilities to various students on the lines of the Indian government. Hence there was a Prime Minister with other ministers with portfolios. The girl who held the ‘Health Minister’ portfolio was responsible for handing out sanitary napkins which was provided free by the state government. The girl allocated the ‘Environment Portfolio’ was in charge of school cleanliness and girls toilet hygiene. An external help came only once a week and spent two hours for cleaning. On all other days the students maintained the cleanliness in groups.
14.Waste Segregation: K. K School Varthur in Bangalore is a model for replicable practices in managing waste. (Biogas production; composting; selling paper and plastic for recycling, e-waste collection).
15.‘Do it Yourself’ craft initiatives for Reuse of discarded materials: Ekya School, Bangalore used old plastic bottles can be used for growing plants and old car tyre used to make seating.
16.Tree Planting: In the Bhuwali Government School in Dungarpur, the student ‘environment minister’ was also responsible for ‘tree planting’ activities. Saplings of trees such as ‘Mahua’, ‘Mango’ and ‘Khajur’ were used as these can adapt to the arid weather present there. This was done 2-3 times per year. Saplings are easily available for free. In K.K School, Bangalore nearly 512 trees have been planted by students over last few years and numbered accordingly. Students have assessed Carbon-sequestration through a calculation called Plant Biomass Index using standard formulae. The results show that 417 tonnes of Carbon dioxide has been sequestered in the last 15 years by these trees. Planting of local varieties of trees was also being done by Amrita Vidyalaya in Nagapattinam.
17.Rain Water Harvesting: K.K. School, Bangalore has effectively shown how water table in a low water table area can easily be raised using rain water harvesting techniques.
18.Generation of Clean Energy through Windmills and Solar Panels: K. K School, Bangalore scores here again by generating their own electricity which takes care running lights and fans of many of their classrooms.
19.Knowledge through games and activities: This was seen in Bhuwali Government School in Dungarpur, e.g Snakes and Ladders; where good habits made you go up the ladder while bad habits made you come down the snake.
20.Miscellaneous:

a) Students can be involved with a ‘Street Store’, where they can collect wearable old clothes and accessories and sell it a nominal price to others who need it. The corpus collected can be used for any socially useful activity as seen in Lawrence School, Lovedale
b) As part of school outreach programs, sanitation workers of the municipality can be felicitated.
c) Cleaning up of a ‘black spot’ in a public space in the lines of ‘The Ugly Indian’

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