suchi @ school
Sustainable Comprehensive Hygiene Initiative
1. Introduction

This project aims to ensure adequate sanitation facilities in all government and government aided schools in Ernakulam district. The project conceived and initiated by Shri. P.Rajeev, Member of Parliament (Rajyasabha) aims to make use of not only the funds of the MPLAD Scheme but also from other sources, both governmental and private. The idea is to facilitate convergence of different schemes and sources of funds to achieve the overall objective of the project. Efforts will be made to mobilize resources from MPLAD Scheme, Total Sanitation Project, Sarva Siksha Abhiyan and rural and urban local governments, individuals and firms in the private and public sector, PTAs, Charitable organizations etc.

2. Rationale of the Project

Access to water and proper sanitation facilities has significant impact on health. Kerala state is a front runner in providing sanitation facilities at the household level. The third round of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-3) reports a situation of having toilet facility for 91 percent of the households in Kerala while the corresponding percentage at the national level is only 29. In the case of provision of school toilets also, Kerala is better than other states as may be observed from District Information System for Education (DISE 2008-09). According to DISE 2008-09, 83 per cent of the primary and upper primary schools in Kerala have common toilets while only 67 per cent of schools have such a facility at the national level. Similarly, the percentage of primary and upper primary schools with separate toilet for girls is much higher in Kerala (78 per cent) compared to the national scenario (54 per cent). The Seventh All India Education Survey conducted in 2002 also points to the relatively better provision of urinal facility and lavatory facilities in the government secondary and higher secondary schools in Kerala compared to the rest of the country. The situation in Ernakulam district is not much different from the state scenario.

It is clear that though the state schools are better placed in terms of sanitation facilities compared to those in other parts of the country, the task remains incomplete. It must be recognized that children have a right to basic facilities such as school toilets, drinking water and clean environment. The provision of safe water, clean toilets and urinals is a must in developing a healthy learning environment in schools. This will have impact on both learning and health of children. But mere provision of facilities will not be sufficient. There should be adequate number of urinals/toilets and necessary privacy should be ensured. Moreover, the children should be equipped to keep the sanitation facilities clean through proper hygiene education. Therefore it is felt that the success of the project lies not only in the provision of adequate sanitation facilities in schools but also on whether it is cleanly maintained, which can be ensured only through the cooperation of students and teachers. Investing in school sanitation will have the following benefits:
  1. Failure to provide adequate sanitary facilities, such as toilets and running water, causes inconvenience for boys, but can make the situation disastrous for girls. Menstruating girls will not attend school if basic toilet facilities are not available. In some schools, separate toilet facilities are not available for boys and girls.
  2. Children can learn better in a hygienic and clean environment
  3. It can reduce the incidence of disease and worm infections which in turn can improve attendance
  4. it can help in reducing community health hazards
  5. It helps to improve the happiness of the children
  6. helps in developing better hygiene behaviour
It is in this background, the proposed project envisages building up school infrastructure for sanitation and provision of safe water in all government schools and government aided schools in Ernakulam district of Kerala State. Instead of taking a piece meal approach, the project envisages to complete the task of school sanitation within a period of one year by mobilizing resources not only at the disposal of Shri. P.Rajeeve, MP under the MPLAD Scheme but also those available with different agencies, government and private.

3. Details of the Project

According to the data provided by Deputy Director, Education, Ernakulam, 259 schools in the district have to build up additional infrastructure for school sanitation. Of these, only 84 are in the government sector, the remaining being in the aided sector.

3.1 Requirement of Toilets

Only 7 government schools require additional toilets as per the norm of one toilet for 120 students. These schools require one or two additional toilets. In the aided sector, there is a higher need for toilets. In the case of aided schools, there is a shortage of sanitation facilities in 56 aided schools and additional toilets have to be constructed to fulfill the norms.

Table 1: Details of the Requirement of Toilets
Number of toilets required Number of Schools
Govt. Schools Aided Schools
1 6 24
2 1 14
3   5
4   3
5   3
6   2
7   2
8   1
11   2
Source: Compiled from the data provided by
Deputy Director, Education, Ernakulam district.

Figure 2 shows that the additional requirement to fulfill the norms of one toilet for 120 students is more in aided sector than the government sector. Only 5 per cent of the requirement is in the government sector.

3.2 Requirement of Urinals

It was reported that 80 government schools require additional urinals. In the aided sector, 156 have reported shortage of urinals. The data provided by the Deputy Director, Education, Ernakulam indicates that the total requirement of urinals is 1970. Of this, only one-fifth (18.7%) are required in government schools and the remaining 1601 are required in the aided schools.

Table 1: Details of the Requirement of Urinals
Number of toilets required Number of Schools
Govt. Schools Aided Schools
1 19 22
2 9 13
3-5 30 39
6-10 18 27
11-15 3 22
16-20 0 10
Above 20 1 23
Source: Compiled from the data provided by
Deputy Director, Education, Ernakulam district.

Figure 3 shows that the additional requirement to fulfill the norms of one urinal for 40 students is more in aided sector than the government sector. Only one-fifth of the requirement is in the government sector.

3.3 The Project Approach

As mentioned earlier, the project is being conceived as a joint effort of different sections of the society to meet a primary need of government and aided schools where the students belonging to disadvantaged sections study. It is under the hope that all sections of the society will respond to this call for joint action. The following sections of the society have been initially identified to participate in this endeavour are:
  • Management of Aided Schools
  • School Parent Teacher Associations of government and aided schools
  • Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC-Suchitwa Mission)
  • Grama Panchayats, Municipalities and Municipal Corporations
  • Private Corporate Sector
  • Public Sector undertakings
  • Charitable organizations and philanthropists
  • Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan
In the case of government school, the funds for additional construction are expected to be generated through Suchitwa Mission, local bodies and PTAs. The mandate of the Suchitwa Mission is currently restricted to provide sanitation facilities only in government schools. To ensure adequate sanitation facilities in aided schools, the managements or the Parent Teacher Associations will have to bear half the cost of constructing new urinals and toilets. The remaining part is envisaged to be raised through sources mentioned above such as MPLAD, private and public sectors etc.

Another important characteristic of the project is that one of the toilets constructed in each school will be disabled friendly toilet. It will also be ensured that toilets are constructed as child friendly as possible.

We are also planning to install sanitary napkin vending machine as a part of the project to make it more comprehensive. The support from the Health Ministry is being anticipated in this regard.

To ensure that the implementation of the initiative and follow up action are done effectively, a monitoring committee will be constituted at the district level with officials and representatives of the public as members. Moreover, a social auditing of the performance of the Initiative will be organized one year after the initiation of project. All the schools which participate in this initiative should develop necessary mechanisms to ensure that the sanitation facilities in the school (not only the ones constructed under the initiative) are kept clean. Obviously, this would necessitate improving the awareness of the students on sanitation and hygiene related aspects. This awareness can be built up with the participation of Suchitwa Mission and Charitable organizations. It is felt that the success of the project is ensured only if the infrastructure built up under the initiative is properly maintained and effectively used by the school community.