NSE Foundation - Making Ashramshalas in Maharashtra Water Sanitation & Hygiene (WASH) Compliant
Ashramshalas are residential schools run by the Tribal Development Department (TDD). These schools, usually, located in remote areas offer a residential educational facility to children from disadvantaged tribal backgrounds especially if the parents seasonally migrate for work. NSE Foundation initiated this unique project in partnership with the Tribal Development Department along with technical support from UNICEF, basis a WASH benchmarking and assessment report. The project aims to impact around 70,000 students, around 2000 school staff and TDD officers.
Yusuf Kabir, WASH Specialist, UNICEF Maharashtra says - ‘We tried to demarcate the infrastructure in terms of water, sanitation, and hygiene in different kind of star rating. The three start rating approach classifies Ashramshalas in 4 groups. 0 being the lowest, and 3 being the highest. Around 70% of these residential schools fell into 0 to 1 star category. After assessment and it brought to light a need for functional sanitation facilities in residential schools.’
The intention behind the initiative is to essentially to work with 172 Ashramshalas in Maharashtra over a period of three years and try to improve the WASH infrastructure in these schools to ensure that these residential schools have safe drinking water and sanitation.
The project looks into three major components: (1) Retrofitting of WASH infrastructure as per the Benchmarking and Assessment survey of Ashramshalas (2) Enhanced awareness, knowledge and behaviour change on the aspects of WASH by students, teachers, government officials of TDD and sanitation workers (3) Build or improve systems around operations and maintenance.
In few of the schools, the foundation has started to try out an online chlorination system based on use. Appropriate dose gets added on a real-time basis as children start to consume the water for ensuring safe drinking water. They are also integrating ways to involve children in pumping water via a see-saw pump while playing. Tiger technology and Evapotranspiration decal digestion technology has also been put to use.
Anil Madhavrao Kambale, Headmaster, Keliramanwadi Ashramshala says - ‘Even though we have good infrastructure, good toilets, good water stations but the lack of knowledge among the students about these structures are a waste.’
The project includes both - the technical and human development components that are necessary for sustainable WASH practices in Ashramshala. These include toilets, urinals, creation of group hand washing stations, augmentation of drinking water points, water quality management, solid and liquid waste management, setting up cloth washing stations, arranging for disposal of menstrual hygiene management, kitchen waste management and food hygiene.
One of the most important component in this initiative is also ‘Kitchen Management’. How the hygiene in the kitchen is implemented? How are they run? What is the hygiene issue? what about safe food, transportation of food services? - says Ms. Rema Mohan, CEO, NSE Foundation.
Around 50,000 Ashramshala students have been covered through the various WASH interventions, such as retrofitting, renovation and repair of water, sanitation, kitchen and other related facilities as well as the software sessions for behaviour change which include group sessions on Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) with 5500 adolescent girls, hand washing sessions etc. In addition 1000 teachers have been trained on WASH practices, 474 SMC members have been trained and SMCs strengthened. Around 9,900 children of the Child Cabinets have been trained on leadership and peer learning strategies, and around 1800 government officials have been sensitized about the importance of WASH and the project objectives. Under the project intervention a total of 1104 WASH facilities have been retrofitted/repaired.
NSE Foundation is a Section 8 company that undertakes the CSR activities of the National Stock Exchange of India Limited and its subsidiaries
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