Toilet Facilities in All Schools
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Toilet Facilities in All Schools
Encourage and contribute to developing the necessary
partnership between the state of Maharashtra and the Government of
India’s programmes to establish toilet facilities in all schools. The
Indian government has launched a focused campaign to increase the
households in the country that have toilets by 2010. Additionally, we
will target the urgent need for separate toilets for boys and girls,
together with a hand-washing facility in every school in Maharashtra.
|Name: Toilet Facilities in all Schools
||Region and Country: Maharashtra, India
Each year two million children die from diarrhoeal diseases, making it the
second most serious killer of children under the age of five. The main source
of diarrhoeal infection is human excreta. It seems clear therefore, that
human excreta should be managed as a potentially dangerous material. The
construction of latrines is a relatively simple technology that may be used
to control the spread of infectious diseases. Studies have shown that latrine
coverage has to reach 90% of a population to have an impact on community
health. In Maharashtra, 85% of rural households and 54% of all households
have no access at all to a toilet facility.
While the Indian government is making great strides in the availability of
toilets, this programme looks to increase advocacy and education necessary to
convince people to use the toilets, and to create separate male and female
toilets in schools together with hand-washing facilities.
It is important to gain political support and government commitment to the
programme. A mix of mass media and interpersonal communication is the best
way to deliver the key programme messages. Demonstration sites for the
selected technologies are important, as is the training of local people in
operation and maintenance methods. It is also necessary to provide reasonable
funding options and incentives to make the technology affordable.
Latrine facilities, separate for boys and girls, with a hand-washing facility
will be established in all schools. A latrine promotion programme will teach
students and the local people about why and how to use the latrines through
community involvement, radio messages, and other social marketing strategies.
The construction of this latrine system in schools will be used to control
the spread of infectious diseases, and promote toilet usage at a young age to
school children to convey proper usage and knowledge at home.
Programme Management and Implementation:
This programme has numerous phases of implementation.
The first step is to become familiar with the local area and school systems.
The acceptance of latrines varies from culture to culture and it is important
to understand where the areas of potential resistance lie so as to direct
promotion efforts efficiently. Conducting interviews can help to determine
users likes and dislikes as well as identify current hygiene practices. This
information is essential to the planning of a sanitation promotion program
that will match the customs and attitudes of the users.
The information gathered during the background study of the local people can
be used to plan a custom tailored sanitation promotion program. The initial
planning phase should consist of selection of the key messages to be promoted
and a matching appropriate technology. The key messages need to be based on
existing ideas, because it is much harder to introduce radical or rapid
changes in a population. The core ideas should be kept simple and to the
point. It is easiest for people to grasp a few straightforward ideas, rather
than a long list of suggested improvements. The type of latrine selected
should be low-cost, appropriate for the geographic area, and match with
existing customs of anal cleaning and defecation habits as much as possible.
Once the key messages and technology have been selected a marketing approach
must be developed. Recent efforts in promotion programs related to
socio-cultural issues have focused on social marketing techniques. Social
marketing uses the approaches of economics to advance social change. Social
marketing advocates a demand driven approach to sanitation. Therefore, a
successful sanitation program needs to create a demand for latrines. This is
accomplished by offering affordable technology, but also by increasing the
social desirability of latrines. Studies have shown that the reasons people
want latrines are less for health concerns than for social status, privacy,
comfort and convenience (WHO, 2000). It should therefore, be the goal of any
sanitation program to foster these feelings to increase the social demand for
latrines. Since social status is one of the driving factors in latrine
demand, it is important to recruit prominent people and community leaders to
the cause of sanitation. Sanitation promotion by these leaders will increase
the acceptability of latrines (Ikin, 1994). While the role of community
leaders may be important, so is the participation of the average community
member. Community based efforts have been shown to be more effective than
external intervention (WHO, 2000). The marketing approach must select key
populations within the community to act as agents of change and use
appropriate channels of communication to reach the target audience.
Implementing a latrine promotion program requires outreach and education of
the masses, as well as, cost reduction strategies. It is also important to
consider the interactions of any institutions involved in the project
(schools, government, and construction company) and the issue of sustainability.
The most effective method of outreach is person-to-person visits (UNICEF,
2002). These visits are used to share hygiene and technical information, as
well as encourage sanitary behaviour changes. Other methods, such as radio
and television programming, discussion groups, and school curriculum's, may be
incorporated depending on the community reception of these types of media.
Radio or television programming has worked well in areas with high coverage
by these media. Broadcast programming is most effective when done in the
native language. Discussion groups are a good way to encourage community
participation in the project. They may also be a way to disperse technical
information to a large population through demonstration sites. Introducing
hygiene curriculum in the local schools works well in areas of high school
attendance and reliable school systems. Children can act as powerful agents
of change when they practice proper hygienic behaviours in the classroom and
then bring these behaviours home with them (UNICEF, 2002). It is also hoped
that children will retain these positive traits into adulthood.
A significant factor to consider in any sanitation program is the cost to the
new technology. High cost is the number one deterrent for the spread of
latrine construction (Cotton, 1998). It is important to select low-cost
technologies for sanitation projects in the developing world.
Many sanitation promotion programs rely on the support of both the local
government and NGO. Whenever there are multiple institutions working together
on a project it is important to have a clear structure of goals and methods
of implementation. Care must be taken not to duplicate efforts or damage the
working relationship between the partner institutions. Where large
institutions are involved it is helpful to establish community contacts to
ensure effective communication from the field to the institute headquarters.
Although the introduction of improved sanitation services may be difficult,
ensuring the sustainability of these services may be even more so. The most
important step towards sustainability is the involvement of the community
from the start of the project. People, students, and the school must learn to
take ownership and pride in their latrines. Social marketing strategies can
aid in the increased acceptance and demand for latrines. School programming
is also an important step towards educating the future of sanitary behaviour.
Another tactic is to train local artisans to construct and maintain latrines.
These artisans may build small businesses to market their skills, thus
increasing the economy drive behind latrine use. Above all the program must
be adaptable and flexible enough to change with the needs and demands of the
people being served.
Programme Monitoring and Evaluation:
Programme monitoring and evaluation will occur to oversee the instalment of
toilets in schools, how many children are using the toilets, and possible
reasons for not using the toilets. Community attitudes will also be monitored
and surveys will be conducted to see if toilet usage increases in surrounding
Learning and Dissemination:
Sanitation and hygiene promotion programs started in India in the 1980s with
the support of UNICEF. The initial emphasis was on technical solutions,
specifically the promotion of twin-pit pour-flush latrines. The government
and UNICEF advocated the construction of these latrines as the national
standard for cost-effective sanitation. However, the idea was never widely
accepted and latrine coverage in rural areas remained less than 10 percent.
The cost of latrine construction was considered too high and people saw
little motivation for use.
Between 1986-1987, UNICEF performed several micro-field studies to determine
alternative methods to sanitation promotion. The results indicated that the
lack of community involvement was detrimentally to the program. The studies
also revealed several reasons behind people’s reluctance to use the new
latrines. People avoided latrine use for fear of breaking it, or because they
believed it more sanitary to defecate in the fields away from the house, or
because they preferred to use the latrine as a storage facility. The high
cost of the twin-pit pour-flush toilets was also often beyond the means of
many poor communities.
The results of these studies lead to a new approach in sanitation promotion
in India in the 1990s. The new emphasis was on lower-cost latrines and
sanitary behaviour changes. A community-based approach was used to promote
behaviour change. Efforts were made to increase household visits, school
programming and considerations for gender issues. Sanitation issues were
linked with other health concerns in an attempt to increase motivation for
latrine usage. A program evaluation in the mid 1990s indicated that
person-to-person visited could be highly effective, but that 3-4 visits were
required for every latrine installed. The labour costs associated with this
method of promotion are therefore quite high. School programs were developed
to teach children hygienic behaviours, including the use of a latrine. The
hope is that the children will than bring these behaviours home with them,
thereby acting as agents of change in their communities.
The new promotion plan also stressed the role of women in sanitation and
household hygiene management. Lack of proper sanitation facilities has
traditionally been more detrimental to women than to men. Due to the lack of
privacy, many women may wait until nightfall to relieve themselves, leading
to serious health problems and kidney failure. The lack of sanitation
facilities has also been a barrier to girls attending school. The
restructuring of the sanitation promotion program has attempted to address
these issues by including women in health discussions and the operation and
maintenance of the new latrines.
The key to sanitation promotion in India has been balancing the technical and
social aspects of sanitation services. Since the introduction of community
based promotion methods, rural India has seen sanitation coverage increase
from nearly zero to 14% while total sanitation coverage increased to 31%.
Community involvement and self-financing methods lead to the construction of
more than 350,000 latrines in one county alone. An impact evaluation in 1999
showed consistently better excreta disposal practices in communities
participating in the promotion programs. The study indicated that future
sanitation promotion efforts should focus on social marketing techniques and
community management of latrines.