Sanitation is directly associated with health and life style of people. Access to sanitation is considered as one of the basic rights of human. However, statistics of Water Aid shows only 27% of the total population in Nepal has access to sanitation. According to the report of UNICEF, 40 children die of diarrhea and water borne diseases every day because of unhygienic habits, inadequate facilities and lack of awareness.
Children are vulnerable to such epidemic. Whether it is home or school, safe drinking water with hygienic behavior is must to stay healthy. To create awareness about the importance of sanitation and water, GUTHI conducted an awareness sessions to hundreds of students through the month of March at Viswa Niketan Higher Secondary School (VNHSS).
In the month, 4 sessions were carried out with a total of 201 students in the school. Students from different classes actively participated in the session. The objective of the session was to aware the students about the importance of sanitation and several factors that need to be considered for quality sanitation.
The main building of the school which had rainwater harvesting system installed was collapsed in last year’s massive earthquake. That resulted severe water and sanitation problem in school. The government recommended that the standard number of toilets in school has to be 1:50, i.e. one toilet equals to 50 students. However, there are only … toilets for … number of total students.
“After destruction of the building, Viswa Niketan lacked toilets and water to clean existing toilets that directly affects on the health of students,” said Bimala Gurung, program associate of GUTHI, adding that they find the need of awareness about the sanitation. “In this training, we taught students and teachers about importance of clean toilets, menstrual hygiene, handwashing techniques and threat of unhygienic behavior,” she explained.
The awareness session was divided into presentation on sanitation and hygiene followed by group discussion. During the discussion, students shared the status of sanitation in their school. They further raised questions and highlighted the role of an individual for maintaining quality sanitation in their school, family and community. They also demonstrated their knowledge from the session through drawings and writings.
“Being users of toilets, we, students should use toilets properly and be accountable for maintaining health and sanitation in the school,” said Bishal Kharel, one of the student participants from grade 11. Citing that theoretical knowledge should be implemented practically, he said, “We can carry awareness session and teach our juniors about it to improve sanitation and hygiene of the school.”
Another participant Rupesh Shrestha, a grade 11 students said, “The session was fruitful to me as I learned that we should be self-conscious about our own activities to reduce waste from the source.”