SWACHA Shale project awarded by UNU-IAS

RCE Bangalore's, SWACHA Shale work was executed in Karnataka and was acknowledged as Flagship Project for its role in Contributing to Community Engagement in the field of Health and Nutrition. UNU Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS) every year gives an award to the RCE (Regional Centre for Expertise) for their innovative projects contributing to the field of ESD.

SWACHA Shale is a programme jointly initiated by RCE Bangalore, CEE Karnataka, SSA Karnataka and UNICEF in collaboration with Zilla Panchayat Ramnagar. It aims to reduce the risk of diarrhoea and thereby increase the schools' attendance and enrolment by motivating and sustaining the hygiene behaviour especially hand washing with soap at critical times in schools.

On a pilot basis, 55 government schools of Solur Hobli, Ramnagar district, Karnataka were selected. As part of this initiative, sensitization on the importance of WASH in schools to various stakeholders associated with schools was done. Child friendly innovative hand washing stations were constructed and were put into use. Also, waste water generated was used for establishing kitchen garden. H ygiene camps for teachers and children were conducted and community outreach activities were executed.

As an outcome of the above initiatives, schools now have group hand washing units with sustained water supply being used by students, improved hygiene practices, improved toilet facilities which are optimally used and maintained. Vegetables grown in kitchen garden are used in mid-day meals and cooks follow hygiene norms. The reduction in the incidence of water borne diseases among students and zero students' dropout from schools has established an effective reach of the message from students to parents and to the community.

The success is attributed to the catalytic facilitation by CEE, to sensitize and motivate the local elected representative to own and support the entire initiative. As a result, this programme is now being linked to Mid-day Meal scheme by the Karnataka government and is being executed in over 7000 government schools in state.