Creating Happy and Healthy Schools under ‘Swachh Vidyalaya Abhiyan ’
NALCO, a Navratna PSU under the Ministry of Mines, has been at the forefront in the cleanliness drive right from the beginning. In sync with the Government of India’s ‘Swachh Bharat’ Mission, NALCO has undertaken several initiatives towards the improvement of sanitation condition not only in the periphery of its plants but also in the state and nation.
Lending its support to the call of the nation, the company had successfully achieved its target for the Swachh Vidyalaya Abhiyan Project in the FY 2015-16. Access to proper sanitation is a fundamental human right. Lack of access to a clean water and functional toilet poses severe risk to the health condition. Studies have revealed that non-availability of toilets is one of the reasons for low enrollment of girls in schools and its unavailability also has a negative impact in retention of the students. Young girls are forced to drop out of school due to absence of toilets and lack of privacy. Every year thousands of children die from diarrhoea and related diseases. Thus construction of toilets emerged as a project of national importance. Eventually, government had initiated the ‘Swachh Vidyalaya Abhiyan’. The project aims to ensure a structure that is more healthy and hygienic for the children, especially girl students.
NALCO’s intervention has not been limited to only construction. Subsequently, the usage and maintenance was given importance under the project for the effective achievement of the objective and to ensure the sustainability of the project. The school authorities and students were sensitized on the hygienic practices and on proper maintenance of the toilets for healthy living.
This year, the company also started promoting the proper usage and maintenance of the toilets by introducing reward system to the students and schools for making effort to promote sanitation in their school. As per the reward system, named as “Gulgul-Kunmun”, 3 schools each from Damanjodi and Angul promoting sanitation were awarded with ` 20,000 cash prize at the Foundation Day celebration. They were also provided hygiene kits comprising of toiletry items as a token of appreciation and towards furtherance of best practices around sanitation. Besides, the company also promoted sanitation through various initiatives during the observance of Swachhta Pakhwada, in order to promote the importance of cleanliness. Hygienic kits comprising of organic handwash, shampoo, soap etc were distributed among the school-going girls to promote WASH. Training on WASH was also organized for employees and their spouses. Skit plays were organized at different locations to sensitize people on the importance of sanitation, using of toilets and other best practices towards healthy living.
The company took a step further and undertook a third party assessment to understand the usage and maintenance of the toilets provided under Swachh Vidyalaya Abhiyan project. The finding from the assessment was used to take necessary remedial measures. Realising that some toilets did not receive regular water supply, which is imperative to make the toilets functional and hygienic, NALCO carried out a survey and assessed the needs of all the intervened schools and proposed for the provisioning of supply of water to 128 schools — 74 schools at Damanjodi and 54 schools at Angul. The results are starting to show as students have adapted to the ‘swachh’ way of leading a healthy and dignified life. We hope, the action we have taken today, will leave a lasting impact in the lives of the people we have touched. NALCO’s quest towards a “Swachh” India does not end here…it’s just the beginning!