Behaviour Change Campaign
for Positive WASH Outcomes


Over 37.7 million Indians suffer from waterborne diseases annually. This is close to the population of California! 1.5 million children die from diarrhoea alone!!

According to the National Family Health Survey, of the approximate 0.63 million rural schools in India, only 44% have water supply facilities.Unsafe drinking water causes high risk of water-borne diseases like cholera, typhoid, hepatitis A, dysentery and diarrhoea. The major cause of these water-borne diseases is microbiological contamination of drinking water.

As per WHO statistics, hand hygiene can lead to the prevention of 1.5 million child deaths worldwide. Hand washing is labelled as one of the most cost effective methods of reducing illnesses among school children, which can lead to a reduction of almost 50% illness related absences from school. However, many children from the age groups of 5-13 do not follow simple hand hygiene and sanitary protocols due to a variety of reasons including lack of awareness and sometimes due to lack of necessary infrastructure.

Keeping the substantially positive impact of the establishment of WASH principles at this formative stage in the child’s life, the CLEAN India team at Development Alternatives designed a series of interventions based on the 4 As Approach – Assessment, Awareness, Action and Advocacy, which were aimed at influencing changing sanitation behaviour and practices by instilling best practices among students in the age group of 8-13 years in one government school in Gurgaon district in Haryana and 33 schools in Alwar district in Rajasthan.

Under the ‘WASH in School’ programme, students from classes 3rd,4th and 5th have been educated regarding the importance of water, personal and public hygiene and made aware of practical techniques they could follow at home and at school to have access to safe drinking water, proper hand-washing technique and why it’s important to follow it.

The CLEAN India team undertook numerous sessions in different formats including classroom sessions, guided story reading sessions, documentary presentations, quizzes, wall-art, street plays, games and science demonstrations over the course of the 3 months that the campaign was implemented. A variety of sessions were undertaken to keep the children engaged in a fun and enabling environment so that the student learning outcomes could be maximised. It is hoped that these children would act as agents of change within their own localities and homes to educate the wider community on WASH practices.

The highlight of the project was the selection and capacity building of wash ambassadors, the lynchpin of the project, under which specially selected students and teachers were trained to promote the best practices taught for continued sustainability of the programme. 'Follow the Liters' project implemented in the Alwar schools drew upon a model implemented by Vestergaard in Kenya. Development Alternatives installed 100 Life Straw Community Filters in the government schools of Alwar district which has helped to provide safe drinking water to some 8,500 students in 33 schools.

The next step was a huge awareness campaign where the 100 filters were installed in the respective schools with awareness and technical sessions being conducted simultaneously. Post the awareness campaign, rallies were organised on World Toilet Day and various slogan writing competitions were also conducted. The WASH ambassadors were felicitated with caps and badges. They were trained in their duties.

The above projects enabled the CLEAN India team to reach its core mandate of influencing behaviour change for positive outcomes in the most definitive fashion, by enabling school children to be agents of change for their families and their communities.

Raghuvir Raghav Das
and Midhat Moini

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