The Supreme Court ordered that across states, all schools must be provided with toilets and drinking water facilities as part of students’ Right to Education. Arghyam considers sustainable access to safe drinking water an important issue and has promoted it across Karnataka.
This has been done through several methods:
- Tackled specific issues of water quantity and quality in schools.
- Worked alongside a government scheme (Suvarna Jala) to demonstrate successful methods of participatory, safe and adequate water and sanitation provision in schools.
- Supported independent requests from schools for funding rainwater harvesting structures to assist them in providing their students with potable water. To help combat scarcity of safe drinking water a number of measures were undertaken across these five schools. Worked with another funding agency that works on education to build safe water and sanitation into the schools they work in.
- In all these initiatives, rainwater harvesting systems were created, an underground storage tank was constructed and children were given hygiene education. Where required, water quality issues were addressed by providing water filters.
- All schools have been made water secure.
- Safe drinking water has been made available.
- Quality issues, wherever present, were tackled.
- Children provided hygiene education. Several student committees set up with tasks designed to give the children a sense of ownership over the water and sanitation systems.
- Governance system put in place to ensure students have more ability to manage the water systems. A School Development and Management Committee SDMC was set up as part of the Suvarna Jala programme with members of the schools who were equipped with necessary knowledge and skills to carry on the project independently.