Presence of Arsenic above permissible limits in groundwater and lack of sanitation infrastructure in schools took a toll on the health of school children in the 24 North Paraganas district. This project helped improve the water and sanitation in 12 schools in this district. Access to safe drinking water was given to 14,000 students due to the project interventions. Provisions were made to provide well designed sanitation facilities for adolescent girls and women teachers, while significant focus was given to improving menstrual hygiene. These interventions helped reduce student dropout rates and increase attendance, especially among girls.
At the end of the project, there was a prioritization of issues by school committees, who also committed funds for the programme’s operation and maintenance
- Knowledge-Attitude-Behaviour-Practice studies conducted in all 12 schools to gauge the awareness and behaviour of the students. Based on the study, a participatory planning exercise for designing customized interventions was formulated.
- A School Water and Sanitation committee (Watsan) and a revolving school fund developed to help build ownership and provide effective maintenance and management of the assets.
- Water quality testing to check Arsenic levels.
- To ensure safe drinking water, AMAL filters for Arsenic removal were installed in six schools where Arsenic levels were above permissible limits. In addition, drinking water stations constructed in all 12 schools.
- Sanitation blocks were constructed in all 12 schools and toilets redesigned with focus on menstrual hygiene management.
- Anwesha clinics were linked to all schools. Anwesha is a flagship programme of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India that addresses the health issues of adolescent girls, specifically related to menstrual hygiene.