Ektarpur High School

School Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Projects

2023-24

Prepared by: Sarboday Sangha, Ajaya 

 

Introduction

Education is the backbone of a nation. Ensuring a healthy learning environment is a must to the development of our society. In the Purba Medinipur District of West Bengal, there are 736 high schools with large student strength. But in these schools, water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities are not adequately available. The existing sanitary infrastructures of the schools are very poor. The facility of running water is unavailable in many schools. Though the students stay 5 to 6 hours a day within the school premises, they do not get proper facility of water and sanitation resulting to their hygiene hazards. The conditions of the girl students are more pathetic due to lack of good hygienic latrines ensuring their privacy. As a result, they become unwilling to attend school particularly, at the time of menstruation period due to lack of proper menstrual hygiene facilities within the school premises and they do not get any change room for disposing their menstrual waste. In the long run, this becomes a main cause behind the school drop out of the girl students. The proposed project is the School Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Education (WASH) Program of which focuses on water, sanitation, and hygiene education in schools. Children are the future drivers of our society. It is to ensure safe and better water, sanitation, health and hygiene facility of the school going children and also the students up to higher secondary level. The project is not merely designed for the water and sanitation related infrastructural development of the schools, rather, the project is designed also to adopt better hygiene practices by the students, by providing them with water-sanitation-hygiene education and a better school environment with safe and better water, sanitation, health and hygiene facilities. The students will get these facilities in their school premises and will be aware of the need of these facilities, and thus a positive change is expected in their behavioral pattern resulting to their approach to their guardians about the necessity of safe water, sanitation health and hygiene facility in their housesSafe water, sanitation health and hygiene facility will lessen the water borne diseases and health hazards among the community members, resulting to a healthy society. The project will be supported jointly by the school and external funding agency. The applicant NGO naming Sarboday Sangha (SS) will be responsible for the implementation of the project and will take initiatives for the convergence of school fund and motivate the school to contribute their parts to complete the project as per time plan. 

Targeted School: Ektarpur High School

Ektarpur High School is a co-education school. It was established in 1961 and is situated in Ektarpur village near Bay of Bengal. Number of students presently studying in this school is 903 (Boys499, Girls-404) taught by 12 teachers (Male —08, Female – 04). This area is a flood affected area. The school infrastructure was being used for several purposes yet, in the beginning the water and sanitation facilities were very poor in the school. As a result, the boys used to go to nearby fields to urinate, but the situation created too many problems for the girls especially during their menstruation. This situation increased the rate of absenteeism especially among girls, sufferings from several ailments, poor results in class performance and polluted surrounding environment. The school authority felt the need to create a WASH facility in the school and constructed one school sanitary block with urinals, toilets, pipelines etc. mobilizing funds from various sources. In the beginning the students used to fetch water from nearby ponds which were not too close to the school. Gradually, the sanitary block became unusable due to unavailability of water. Also, there was no system of proper management and maintenance. Sometime back, a submersible pump was set up by the government. But the pipeline system was not connected properly in the damaged sanitary block. The condition of the sanitary block is extremely poor, and the students are compelled to use dirty and unhygienic toilets. The floor of the block was also damaged and the pipelines as well as many of the taps were broken.  Due to shortage of water and improper maintenance, and ultimately entire system became nonfunctional.  Due to shortage of funds, schoolteachers requested Sarboday Sangha to extending support for complete repair and renovation of the system. The school sanitary block was visited by the Sarboday Sangha representatives visited the school and had meetings with the headmaster and the teachers and through detailed discussions decided to take up this project through participatory process. The discussion was registered in meeting register of the school and the headmaster has requested Sarboday Sangha through a letter to provide support renovating the school sanitary block system. 

Donors and Participants

Total Cost of the Project: Rs. 5, 94, 000.00 

Outside Donors: Global Water Alliance USA, Mr. Richard Riegler and Dr. Arun Deb (Rs. 396,000) 

     Local Participants: Ektarpur High School (Rs. 1,98,000) 

Completed Tasks

  • New, repair & complete renovation of sanitary block for both boys and girls separately 
  • Construction of an incinerator with provision of sanitary napkin etc. and a changing room for adolescent girls 
  • Construction of hand washing and drinking water stations. 
  • Installation of vending machine & incinerator. 
  • Formation and strengthening of WATSAN committee to ensure sustainability of the school sanitary block. 
  • Development of a system to raise fund for maintenance and repair. 

 

Sustainability of the Project:

Ownership of beneficiaries

From the very beginning, school authority, students and teachers were involved in planning and implementation process and contribute 25% percent of renovation/repairing cost and form WATSAN committee with teacher and student’s representatives to take 100% responsibility of maintenance of Sanitary block & water system of the school. 

Infrastructure and asset maintenance

A WATSAN committee was formed by the students & teachers consisting of 10 boys & 10 girls with two teachers’ one male & one female. A user fee of Rs.5/- per month has been decided by the students & Management committee. The WATSAN committee was responsible for maintenance and cleanliness of the toilet and necessary repairs as and when required. The committee opens a bank account to deposit collected tariff and generate maintenance fund.  

Health and hygiene issues was introduced in the school syllabus for hygiene promotion among the students the subjects are: Safe water handling, Hand washing with soap at critical times, Proper use of toilets, spread of water and vector borne disease and Personal hygiene including menstrual hygiene. 

Monitoring

Hygiene Educator of Sarboday Sangha also visits the school & conducts the hygiene education session twice in a month.  

The WATSAN committee members monitor the use of the sanitary block and follow up maintaining hygienic practices by the students. They conduct periodical meetings and ensure the following. 

  • Maintenance and follow up of register of WATSAN committee meeting resolution. 
  • Making soap available in latrine and hand washing station 
  • Maintaining cleanliness in the toilet block 
  • Checking toilet performance at regular intervals by WATSAN committee 
  • The water quality of drinking water stations will be checked on a regular basis. 

Total Cost of the Project

  1. Rs. 6,24,660/(Rupees Six lakhs Twenty four thousand six hundred sixty only) 

 

Major Learning(s)

  • Number of target beneficiaries: Within the scope of this project, benefits were provided to all students of the school. 

 

  • Lack of facility for menstrual management and disposal of menstrual waste in schools: As awareness grew, accordingly the demand for facilities also increased. Children became aware of their requirements. At this point, the infrastructural deficiencies like change room and incinerator in schools became very evident. The need for supportive infrastructure to encourage behavioral change is one of the main conditions that bring about sustainable change. However, children in the homes were practicing disposal by burying menstrual waste – which is a welcome change. 
  • Attendance during menstruation has increased: Because of the intervention, the school attendance of girls during menstruation has increased. The taboos are gradually fading, and the girls are becoming more confident. 

Silence around menstruation has given way to open discussion: This is one of the most important learning of the program. Providing proper scientific information to stakeholders through education will improve their health outcomes in the long run. 

Linkage and Advocacy

Meeting and exchange of ideas were conducted with the local body of Gram Panchayet (Local Village Government) and efforts were undertaken to link the services with block health initiatives.  

In addition, sensitization of the school authorities and the teachers on the issues covered under this project (especially environmental hygiene and personal hygiene – like maintenance of school premises and hand washing) was successfully conducted and will ensure the sustainability of the program. 

Outcome

  1. Development of a self-sustaining drinking water and sanitation system in the schools benefitting the students.
  2. Promotion of an effective learning environment where children get hygienic and clean environment and will adopt better hygiene practices as follow:
  • Hand washing with soap after defecation and prior and after meals. 
  • Safe disposal of human waste, solid and liquid. 
  • Safe menstrual hygiene management. 
  • Practice of taking safe drinking water. 
  1. Provision of private sanitary facilities will encourage the girl students to attend school, reducing the drop out numbers of girls.
  2. A unique entry of schools into the broader community water and sanitation program. Every student will act as a change agent and will motivate parents and people of the community to adopt better hygiene practices.