Apparently, we were all educated on the importance of hygiene and conservation of water in our schools. Little did we know it could have been put to a solid use as well. The South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) Primary School in New Delhi’s Raghubir Nagar runs on the concept that if kids at an early period are shown the primary rules of sound health and hygiene, they can grow into means of change.
The student’s day begins with a school song that all recite on a periodic basis (every 15 days) during the morning assembly to expand recognition on the value of Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) as part of the hygiene curriculum offered by the school in 2015 in association with Water Aid India and the Society for All Round Development to teach the practice of hand washing among the kids.
The institution actually operated on the notion that if children at an early age, swift to accustom and favor changes, are shown the essential precepts of good health and sanitation, they can become means of change amidst their companions, houses, and neighbourhoods.
Here’s what they do
Children have the benefit of primary amenities such as school toilets, secure drinking water, clean surroundings and also primary knowledge about hygiene. Yet, in our nation, we lose 1.2 lakh children below the age of five to diarrhoea every year. Furthermore, we are a roof to 48.2 million stunted kids ( lower than average height for their age). And the chief reason behind the predominance of these conditions in India is poor cleanliness and sanitation, declared one of the schoolmasters. The school faculty and other stakeholders first recognized the WASH hurdles in the school and then developed a knowledge between teachers and children on the value of WASH friendly manners. As part of this training, they also created children clubs or hygiene committees in the establishments, which then allowed them to discuss problems such as dirty toilets and passage to safe drinking water.
To assure that schools convert to WASH-friendly with enough hygiene and sanitation amenities, the school developed a WASH curriculum in the school in April 2015. The hygiene curriculum is class-based modules on various elements of WASH, such as own hygiene, safe water, conservation of water, open defecation, the importance of hand wash, menstruation health management. These modules are interactive including several engagement exercises such as poems, skits, and tales, and are contained frequently with the students. This encourages students to not just study but also revive and practice it regularly.
All the grades from nursery to Class 5 follow a different curriculum to train children on the fundamental hygiene for good health. The regular cleanliness training to children involve the handling of drinking water, raised and closed storage with a dispenser tap or ladle; usage of toilets; water quality-testing and handling with practical illustrations; garbage disposal – activity-based learning where children truly handle the garbage dumping in the school; reusing wastewater (kitchen fields where area is open or soak pits); and menstrual hygiene in upper primary schools and higher (training, admittance to sanitary napkins, toilets with cleaning and pad disposal facilities).
Cleanliness trips are also taken up in the establishment by including all the students. Kitchen gardens are also developed, wherein the students plant their individual vegetable that can be utilized in the mid-day meal schedule. As an incentive and to distribute best sanitation systems, presentation visits are also organized to the excellent performing schools in terms of sustaining cleanliness. This is created to encourage cross-learning and scale-up of safest leadership among various schools.
The school includes 500 girls, who now are not only experiencing a healthful life by understanding the basic rules of hygiene that they have discovered but are also securing whatever they discover they take it with them to their neighbourhoods and family. The practice must be spread more into many more institutions.