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Engagement with Schools
Approach, Process and Strategy
Biome Environmental Trust
Sanitation in India – a call to action
● Goal 6 of the Sustainable Sustainable Development Goals focuses on WASH :
universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water and adequate
and equitable sanitation and hygiene by 2030
● In India, the Swachh Bharat campaign aims to end open defecation by 2019
● The Swachh Vidyalaya Abhiyan and the Swachh Vidyalaya Puraskar: it ensures
schools have access to separate functional toilets for boys and girls and safe and
appropriate hygiene practices in schools and behaviour among children.
● Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA): Universal access to education for children between age
group of 6-14. Water, sanitation and hygiene infrastructure facilities are provided in
● Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA): to enhance access to secondary
education and to improve its quality.
Generic Issues faced by the school
● Many schools have limited resources-financial, human resource
● Water availability and access are a problem as supply is intermittent and irregular
● Distribution of water within the campus is not always equitable. For example, we
found some cases where anganwadis were excluded
● RO filter use in school kitchen is quite rampant. Creates lot of wastage. Also, since
many places have power issues, RO filter is unused.
● Sanitation infrastructure (toilets, handwashing facilities, drainage systems) are poor
in quality and mostly broken: we saw broken taps, broken toilet pans, broken water
connections, or none at all
● Overall too few toilets for students
● The water and sanitation infrastructure systems in place are not designed for
children. In many places, the hand washing facilities were hard to reach for the
Water needed to be carried: Students carrying
the water in buckets for toilets
Broken and unused pan
Defunct Suvarnajala tank and the RWH
Building water resilience and sustainability
● Engaging with the community: schools as an entry
point both to the community and to educate
● Behaviour change and best practices
A two pronged approach
● Addressing the water and sanitation infrastructure within schools
● Improving education on water and sanitation
● Rainwater harvesting and infrastructure management are but entry points to
engage with the school on the larger issues: water, sanitation, hygiene and
● Therefore, at every step, the activities and lessons were paired to match the
infrastructure related activities, creating a participatory engagement with the
school, the school administration and the school children.
● Create participatory pathways for implementing rainwater harvesting in
schools by engaging the teacher, students and other important
stakeholders such as SDMC (School development management committee)
● Improve understanding of safe water and sanitation practices in the school
through an activity based, audio visual engagement with school teachers
● Improve the existing infrastructure, especially toilets for boys and girls in
the school rendered dysfunctional
● Develop volunteer driven engagement
● Embed basic sustainability principles in the school through an activity based
Steps What does it entail?
Identify BEO, CRP, Villages, HM, Funder, Employees
Collect Basic Information Socio-economic, infrastructure, water and sanitation, schools’ willingness
Shortlist the schools Discussion on issues, holistic plan, solution, anganwadi
System Design, cost estimate BEO letters, co-design of the systems with HM, SDMC, plumber cost estimate
Education sessions Water cycle, water demand, local water cycle, rainwater harvesting, water quality
Follow up and getting the systems in
BEO letter, amount, material, design
Monitoring Plumbing, Operation and Maintenance, Volunteer engagement
Learnings Experience/learnings document
Criteria for identifying schools
● How many students are enrolled? How many teachers are there?
● What is the status of water supply to the school?
● What are the water needs of the school?
● What are the water and sanitation issues faced by the school?
● Is there interest from the school management?
● Is there an active SDMC?
Two major challenges:
How do we create value for these systems
and embed water conservation values?
Many more schools need to be made aware
of the RWH and its usefulness
❖ Ownership of the RWH system over a period of time
❖ Improved understanding of importance of water- availability, demand-supply,
water quality, rainwater harvesting, maintenance of storage systems,
maintenance of toilets, etc. in the school through an activity based approach.
❖ Improve understanding of safe water and sanitation practices in the school
❖ Improved understanding of the local micro level flow of water, issues and
linking it to the larger problems