Topic 3 - How Can Companies Contribute to WASH in Schools


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  • watsanchandra
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  • Chandrasekaran J
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Re: Topic 3 - How Can Companies Contribute to WASH in Schools

I fully agree with Seshadri.
What is needed is some planning, and as he quoted all toilets should be common, why a separate one for teacher and one for children. Just male and female toilets would do. What can be added for lack of watering is an automated water dispensing system, which flushes water in sprinkler form, so that less water can be consumed, whenever the door is closed. This enables use of less water and ensures water is poured every time the toilet is used. Plus, Incinerators for burning out sanitary napkins into ash can be placed in all woemn toilets, so that the disposal of pads are not a problem. The instructions should be given in Hindi or local language for usage depending on which state we are implementing the programme.
We do electricity free water purifiers, which does not need repeated maintenance and does not waste water. We also make arsenic and fluoride removal tailor made purifiers, as an add-on to the regular filters we make. We also give turnkey solutions to make modular toilets without using sand, cement and water for construction, but done from the waste dumped y the fibre glass industry.
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  • AmitojGill
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Re: Topic 3 - How Can Companies Contribute to WASH in Schools

Dear all,

I have the following submission on the role of companies:

Companies have a number of roles to play both through CSR activities as well as through a social entrepreneurship route for funding innovation and scaling up of existing and new solutions, upskilling of stakeholders, enabling behavioural change and ensuring communities take responsibility. Potential actions for companies may include the following:
1. Funding innovative new technologies for water provision in schools and in toilets, particularly in water scarce regions.
2. Funding Annual Maintenance Contracts for operations and maintenance of toilets. There may be a case for a decreasing proportion of the contracts being funded by companies with a greater proportion taken up by the school (and surrounding community) over time to ensure sustainability. In addition to maintenance, contracts would need extend to safe treatment and management of solid waste when required.
3. Local technicians may be trained in the maintenance of the new WASH facilities. In addition, school teachers and students themselves trained in the more basic aspects of maintenance such as fixing broken toilet latches etc.
4. Students in other countries have been trained in local skills such as making honey and growing vegetables within their schools to sell to the village as a means of raising funds for WASH initiatives. Companies in India also have the scope to skill students in entrepreneurial and employability skills that also help raise funds for WASH initiatives.
5. As an example that has worked elsewhere, companies may consider training schools in low cost solutions for handwashing, such as making tippy taps in place of mass handwashing stations until such stations can be built in these schools. Other such low cost but effective solutions may be considered across the WASH space.
6. Providing low cost sanitary pads (reusable or disposable) as well as means of disposal of sanitary waste. Once again, local people can be trained in making such products.
7. Behaviour change communication within schools. In addition, ‘nudges’ that encourage students to engage in good behaviours should also form a key part of behaviour change interventions.
In carrying out the above activities, companies would need to collaborate with local NGOs and other stakeholders to maximise collective impact in a manner that encourages sustainability. Furthermore, companies should take the local context into account instead of imposing ‘standardised’ solutions across the country to ensure effective change in sanitation and hygiene behaviours.
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  • AjitSeshadri
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  • Marine Chief Engineer by profession (1971- present) and at present Faculty in Marine Engg. Deptt. Vels University, Chennai, India. Also proficient in giving Environmental solutions , Designation- Prof. Ajit Seshadri, Head- Environment, The Vigyan Vijay Foundation, NGO, New Delhi, INDIA , Consultant located at present at Chennai, India
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Re: Reply: Topic 3 - How Can Companies Contribute to WASH in Schools

Dear Readers. Pl go through the details in the note. If any clarification and comments are present pl feel free to forward to me. I will arrange provide needed replies. Well wishes. Prof. Ajit Seshadri. Vels Unversity. Chennai.
Prof. Ajit Seshadri, Faculty in Marine Engg. Deptt. Vels University, and
Head-Environment , VigyanVijay Foundation, Consultant (Water shed Mngmnt, WWT, WASH, others)Located at present at Chennai, India
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  • seshadri
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Re: Topic 3 - How Can Companies Contribute to WASH in Schools

I had seen similar problem in the village sanitation scheme implemented by Governments some 25 years. When we we roped in by CAPART, Govt of India to evaluate the sanitation projects done by NGOs in rural areas. That time it was lack of awareness on using toilets and lack of basic facilities like water (even for cooking people have to walk that extra mile to fetch water), cleaning process (even the users do not know how to clean the toilets) etc.
Now in Schools the scenario is different. Most of the students (new generation are willing to use if facilities are in place).

As a person working closely with NGOs, Research Institutes and Rotary (spearheading WASH in a big way) I find most of the facilities established by Corporates / Rotary / Philanthropists / Donor are one time investment and convenient they are forgotten by those providing such facilities. The Schools always suffering from lack of funds to meet ends find it difficult to allocate funds for toilet purpose. Especially this could be seen in most of the Government and Government aided schools. Private schools at least to attract the parents and money maintain toilets to some extent.

But no one see this as an important investment than class rooms.

While a greater emphasis is there on the part of Government to bring education in essential concurrent list and invest more money in basic education, infrastructure and facilities.
It all starts with micromanagement - Government to support its WASH initiatives should allocate administrative blocks with certain number of schools to companies to build / own / operate and allow students and teachers on a free basis (Government should scrap the idea of teachers's toilet and student toilet and ask teachers / Visitors to use the common toilet to infuse confidence in the minds of students to use toilets in schools.
A teacher in the School to be trained properly on the WASH and a hygiene ambassadors (teachers) for cluster of schools can be appointed to visit on a daily basis.
Government should also promote best toilets designs and not low cost designs for the companies to build and set up.
As a results companies can have a block and number of schools to work with (or in the vicinity of the companies where they are situated).
They should appoint Block heads; School hygiene ambassadors, school cleaning staff members and monitor the entire WASH system at least for five years.
Or they can rope in local NGOs to maintain / monitor the WASH system in all schools.
Companies can also award best school toilets / best ambassadors / best compliant school / best class / best student awards to encourage the students to use and help maintain the toilets properly.
In cases where there are no toilets available for villagers, the companies should try to have both school as well as village toilets together so that there will not be abuse of toilets.
Companies can also establish a sanitary pad vending machine as well as incinerator to dispose the pads safely (students should be encourage to bring the used pads for incineration).

At times, teachers also needs good training on the efficient use and maintenance of WASH system (toilets, hand wash facility, sanitary pad vending machine and incinerator etc).

Companies can also place bill boards with information on how to use the toilet / WASH system.

All can be routed through their CSR programmes where maximum effort given to only WASH than other programmes (This also needs government support in incentivising this process.
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  • AmitojGill
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Topic 3 - How Can Companies Contribute to WASH in Schools

Dear all,

I am Amitoj Gill and work with IL&FS, a company that creates high quality infrastructure and financial solutions.

Although a concerted effort has been made towards improving WASH in schools, with toilets having been built in the vast majority of schools, several gaps remain. Indeed IL&FS Education’s experience from working in schools in several states such as Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Uttarakhand etc indicates that the following issues are prevalent:

Lack of proper operations and maintenance of toilets. This results from the following:
  • Lack of availability of water in schools (with water not available in toilets even when it is provided elsewhere in the schools)
  • Limited funds for cleaning
  • Even where water is available, toilets are often not left clean after use resulting in unhygienic conditions (suggesting the need for behaviour change communication and behaviour change nudges)

As a result, even when there are toilets in schools, students may avoid using them due to lack of hygienic conditions (with lack of privacy also being a concern for girls, for example, if toilet doors do not lock properly). This also plagues work done by companies under CSR in the following ways:
  • Lack of handwashing stations near toilets and mid-day meal areas
  • Lack of conditions conducive to menstrual hygiene
  • Basic requirements for menstrual hygiene such as sanitary pads, water inside toilets and dustbins for disposal are not available in schools
  • Lack of extra effort from school administration

There are many school principals who manage toilet cleaning and operations very effectively. They manage the funds efficiently, arranging these from the community and other sources. Thus, the following behavioural and leadership training as well as sharing of such case studies can be beneficial for other Principals
  • Need for behaviour change communication
  • In our experience, awareness levels are fairly high particularly in case of older children, with the need being to translate this awareness into appropriate behaviours

I look forward to understanding how you feel companies can contribute to WASH in Schools. Please share your thoughts with examples.
Amitoj Gill
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