New Delhi: HCL Foundation under the WASH vertical of HCL Uday, constructed and renovated WASH infrastructure in 10 Government Schools in Hyderabad. WASH facilities at Government High School in First Lancer and Government High School, Dhoolpet in Hyderabad were handed over to the school administration in the presence of Ms. R. Rohini, District Education Officer (DEO), Hyderabad, Mr. Vijay Anand Guntur, President, ERS, HCL Technologies, Hyderabad and other officials and team members from HCL Foundation and its partner NGOs.
Aligned to SDG 6, the WASH interventions under HCL Uday aim to strengthen access to WASH facilities as well bring about awareness related to knowledge, attitude and practice in terms of safe hygiene practices in communities as well as usage and sustainable maintenance of facilities. Through the school WASH project, children are trained to adopt good hygiene habits and also create awareness in communities regarding the same. The focus is on ensuring continuity of girl’s education, gender equality and creating an awareness about sustainable practices in communities.
A range of interventions were taken up at Government High School in First Lancer. Two blocks of toilets consisting of two western toilets, five Indian toilets, and one menstrual hygiene room were constructed. Each block had one hand wash basin to facilitate handwashing after the use of toilets. A handwashing platform with 13 taps with a provision for washing feet by students was also constructed. Furthermore, keeping the safety parameters for the girl students in mind the compound wall was raised by 2 feet. The base for water storage tank was built and the tank was replaced to provide access to safe water.
At Government High School, Dhoolpet, three toilets and six urinals for boys and hand wash basin were constructed and one toilet, four urinals for boys, five toilets for girls, one bathroom and three urinals for teachers were renovated and refurbished. In addition, two handwashing platforms with 15 taps and running water facility was also made available for toilets, urinals, handwashing platforms. These services were undertaken keeping in mind that children spend a significant portion of their day at school where WASH services can impact student learning, health, and dignity, particularly for girls.
Availability of clean water, having handwashing and hygiene facilities, and other WASH interventions in schools has shown to reduce drop-out rates, especially for girls. Water access as well as safe and judicious use of water has been a core focus under the WASH vertical of HCL Foundation. Through the various school and community WASH interventions, the effort is to enable children and communities to become aware of safe hygiene practices and sustainable use of water. This has become even more relevant during the COVID-19 pandemic, as the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) was further reaffirmed as an effective means to control spread of the disease.
To create awareness about developing good hygiene habits, various initiatives like attractive wall messages about handwashing, toilet usage, do’s and don’ts during the menstrual hygiene, personal hygiene, and prevention of COVID-19 were painted on the washroom walls of both Government schools as a ready reference for students to follow.
Hygiene corner with a table, whiteboard, and a trunk box consisting of Information, Education & Communication (IEC) material like boards, flip charts, first aid box, nail cutters, mirror, combs, hair oil, powder, soaps for handwashing and hand sanitizers, sanitary napkins, etc. were also provided at the schools to maintain a safe school environment for the students.
Under the WASH vertical of HCL Uday in Hyderabad, so far 16 hand wash platforms, 98 toilets, 75 urinals, three toilets for Children with Special Needs, one Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) changing room for Girls have and four sewerage connections been built / renovated. To sensitize and educate the masses on the significance of washing hands for improved public health, Teachers Training Program & Community Awareness sessions are also conducted on a regular basis.
Nearly 2,967 students, 21 School Staff, and 220 parents and community members were benefited through these interventions in Hyderabad.