The Baljati Katra Chand Khan primary school in the urban area of Bareilly district in Uttar Pradesh had no sanitation facilities for students. Many young girls found it difficult to attend classes because of this.
Today, all students have access to basic facilities and the school actively promotes health awareness. It took many conversations and a sustained awareness campaign before teachers, staff and community members agreed to take responsibility not only to provide the facilities but also to maintain it. It is, after all, a matter of their children’s future.
WASH posters and stickers raised awareness on the issues. Interactive activities like drawing competitions helped spread the message. School Management Committee (SMC) members, students, parents and panchayat members attended training sessions on sanitation and safe drinking water. Numerous meetings were held to involve all community members in conversations around health and sanitation. The campaign was actively supported by government health workers like the ANM and ASHA.
Support My School campaign helped instilling sustainability into our efforts by deciding to take care of the facilities. SMCs were further strengthened by conducting capacity building workshops for SMC members to understand their roles and responsibilities. The members also developed a sustainability plan for the school. SMC members were motivated to include the review of the school’s sanitation facilities and monitor the cleanliness of the school campus in the agenda for their monthly meetings.
Recently, the SMC felt that the toilets were not being cleaned properly. SMC members and other parents jointly invited district level officers, including the district magistrate, to the school premises for a meeting. The officials appreciated the Support My School campaign and the facilities provided under it. In the meeting, the SMC president presented a letter requesting the appointment of a worker to clean the toilets daily, and the local ward member agreed to this request.
The SMC of the Baljati Katra Chand Khan primary school feels completely responsible for the cleanliness and maintenance of facilities in the school. It is community efforts like this, supported by donor initiatives, that help create a clean and healthy environment for our school going children, giving them a chance at a better future.
*This project is a part of Support My School program supported by Coca Cola, NDTV and UN Habitat.