In the historic year of 2000, 189 nations pledged in the form of eight ‘Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)’ to help people to overcome extreme poverty and multiple deprivations. MDGs are set to be achieved by 2015 and are most strategically designed, broadly supported, comprehensive and specific development goals the world has ever agreed upon. These eight time-bound goals i.e. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, Achieve universal primary education, Promote gender equality and empower women, Reduce child mortality rates, Improve maternal health, Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases, Ensure environmental sustainability and Develop a global partnership for development provides concrete framework tailored by each country to suit specific development needs.
The city of New York became the origination of Millennium Development Goals during Millennium Summit that was held during 6th September to 8th September 2000. These were the same days when the world leaders at the headquarter of the United Nations adopted eight chaptered ‘Millennium Declaration’. These chapters are about Values and Principles, Peace, Security and Disarmament, Development and Poverty Eradication, Protecting our Common Environment, Human Rights, Democracy and Good Governance, Protecting the Vulnerable, Meeting the Special Needs of Africa, Strengthening the United Nations. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) originated from the Millennium Declaration produced by the United Nations. Each goal has to follow already set targets and indicators for poverty reduction so that it can meet the completion timeline of fifteen years. It means MDGs has to be achieved till 2015 as they were accepted on 2000. The principle aim of MDG is to encourage development by improving social and economic conditions in the world’s poorest countries and to provide framework for the entire UN system to work coherently together.
MDGs are not only on paper but have been implemented thoroughly. The result is spectacular in some regions of the world as after a period of about ten years, we can see noticeable reductions in poverty globally, significant improvements in enrolment and gender parity in schools, reductions in child and maternal mortality and increasing HIV treatments. But still there is a requirement of speeding up the procedures as the deadline is coming closer. (Read more about present status of the MDGs)
- Goal 1: To achieve the goal of eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, India must reduce the proportion of people below poverty line from nearly 37.5% (in 1990) to about 18.75% by 2015.
- Goal 2: To achieve universal primary education, India should increase the primary school enrolment rate to 100 % with decreasing number of students and completely wipe out the drop-outs by 2015 against 41.96% in 1991-92.
- Goal 3: To ensure gender parity in education, India will have to promote female participation at all levels to reach a female male proportion of equal level by 2015.
- Goal 4: It aims at reducing ‘under five mortality rate (U5MR)’ from 125 deaths per thousand live births in 1988-92 to 42 in 2015.
- Goal-5: India should reduce maternal mortality (MMR) from 437 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1991 to 109 by 2015.
- Goal-6: Under this goal, though India has a low prevalence of HIV among pregnant women as compared to other developing countries, yet the prevalence rate has increased from 0.74 per thousand pregnant women in 2002 to 0.86 in 2003. This increasing trend needs to be reversed to achieve MDG 6.
- Goal-7: The proportion of population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and sanitation is to be halved by 2015 and India is on track to achieve this target.
- Goal-8: Develop global partnership for development. (It includes financial support from developed countries. For example Official Development Assistance –ODA, etc)
The Government of India has adopted ambitious targets related to Millennium Development Goals such as education – ‘Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan’ (the national policy to universalize primary education and making free and compulsory Education to the Children of 6-14 years age group), Health – the National Rural Health Mission along with Integrated Child Development Services. To achieve the MDGs, India needs to convert these commitments and resources into measurable results.
As per the report by daily ‘The Hindu’, The Government of India claims that the country is on track to meet the MDG targets by 2015. These claims include; number of people living below the poverty line has reduced, child and maternal mortality rates are reducing, increased public resources in several key sectors, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme has increased rural employment, National Rural Health Mission have resulted in massive inputs in the health sector, HIV rates are low and that deaths due to tuberculosis and malaria show downward trends.
However it is difficult to endorse the government’s confidence and optimism on target achievements as a report on July 12, 2010, by daily ‘The Hindu’ stated;
“Acute poverty prevails in eight Indian states, including Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, together accounting for more poor people than in the 26 poorest African nations combined, a new ‘multidimensional’ measure of global poverty has said. As per the new measure Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI – was developed and applied by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative with UNDP support), there are more ‘MPI poor’ people in eight Indian states (421 million in Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal) than in the 26 poorest African countries combined (410 million)”.
The states like Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Orissa, and Madhya Pradesh are among the most populous in the country, and have very low GDP. Growing rate of population within these states will account for an even larger share of India’s population in 2015. Therefore, India’s attainment of MDGs will also largely depend on the performance of these states.
The Millennium Development Goals under the Millennium Declaration are not like other documents or plans which remain on paper only. These set out measurable targets instead of the usual hazy statements or agreements.
Source: UNDP, Economywatch website, World Bank website, The Hindu
Swachh Bharat: Swachh Vidyalaya
A new government roadmap for WASH in Schools
The new national campaign, Swachh Bharat: Swachh Vidyalaya (SBSV), or “Clean India: Clean Schools”, was launched in September 2014, heralding a new era in the Indian government’s focus on WASH in Schools. A key feature of the campaign is to ensure that every school in India has a set of functioning and well maintained water, sanitation and hygiene facilities.
SBSV will encompass both the technical and human development components that are necessary for good WASH practices. Technical components include drinking water, handwashing, toilet and soap facilities in the school compound for use by children and teachers and the human development components are the activities that promote conditions within the school and the practices of children that help to prevent water, hygiene and sanitation-related diseases.
In order to be successfully implemented, the staff and supporters of SBSV’s WASH in Schools initiatives will need to be built: teachers, community members, School Management Committee (SMCs), NGOs, Community Based Organizations (CBOs) and education administrators.
SBSV’s goal is to make a visible impact on the health and hygiene of children through improving both their health and hygiene practices, and also those of their families and communities. Another aim is to improve WASH curriculum and teaching methods while promoting hygiene practices and community ownership of water and sanitation facilities within schools. This will improve children’s health, school enrolment, attendance and retention and paves the way for new generation of healthy children.
According to the Indian Government speaking about SBSV: “It is the role of policymakers, government representatives, citizens and parents to make sure that every child attends a school that has access to safe drinking water, proper sanitation and hygiene facilities. This is every child’s right.”
Swachh Vidyalaya: The 6 Essential Elements
Every school in the country must have a set of essential interventions that relate to both technical and human development aspects of a good WASH pogramme.
These are the 6 essential elements:
- Separate toilets for boys and girls, with one unit generally having one toilet (WC) plus 3 urinals. The ratio to be maintained is preferably one unit for every 40 students.
- Menstrual hygiene management facilities including soap, adequate and private space for changing, adequate water for cloth washing and disposal facilities for menstrual waste, including an incinerator and dust bins.
2. Daily handwashing with soap before mid-day meal
- Sufficient group handwashing facilities allowing groups of 10-12 students to wash their hands at the same time. The handwashing station should be simple, scalable and sustainable, relying on usage of minimum water. These handwashing facilities can be developed using local materials.
- Group handwashing with soap sessions are conducted before the mid-day meals are served, and are supervised by teachers, who emphasize good handwashing techniques.
The handwashing sessions are used as an opportunity for delivering hygiene messages, especially the message that hands should be washed at two critical times: before eating and after using the toilet. The sessions can also be used to deliver messages on sanitation and drinking-water safety. Adequate time allocation (preferably 10-12 mins) before the mid-day meal time, to ensure that every child and teacher can wash hands with soap, conveniently.
3. Drinking water
Daily provision of child-friendly and sustainable safe drinking water and adequate water for handwashing. In addition water for school cleaning and also food preparation and cooking. Safe handling and storage of drinking water should be practised throughout the school.
4. Operation and maintenance (O&M)
- All water, sanitation and handwashing facilities need to be clean, functional and well maintained to ensure that the intended results are achieved and capital investments made in installing these systems are not lost. Annual Maintenance Contracts (AMCs) can be issued, which will include regular maintenance of facilities, regular supply of cleaning materials, consumables like soap, disinfectants, brooms, brushes, buckets etc.
The AMC may include identification of repair tasks and arrangement for repair facilities. Alternatively some local arrangements can be made, which can include appointment of local sweepers/cleaners, appointed by the school/district, who are provided with a regular supply of consumables.
- Regular/daily inspection of water and sanitation facilities by an appropriate group of persons as appointed by the SMC.
5. Behaviour change activities
- Water, sanitation and hygiene behaviour change communication activities should be part of the daily routine of all children. Hygiene messages may be integrated into the textbook curriculum or may be imparted through supplementary reading materials, activity based learning methodologies or even during the morning assembly sessions.
- Girls must be taught menstrual hygiene management by female teachers in a sensitive and supportive manner and also take steps to encourage and support girls during menstruation so they do not miss school. This involves menstrual hygiene education sessions at school, along with steps to ensure that girls have a private place to wash and change their clothes.
Existing facilities will be used in some cases; in other situations, a new facility will need to be constructed. Other steps that can be taken to support girls include stockpiling extra sanitary pads and clothes (such as school uniforms) for emergencies, along with enhanced training programmes for teachers.
6. Enhanced capacities
It is essential that capacities are improved at various levels within the sector, to develop the right mix of skills, knowledge and experience to facilitate, finance, manage and monitor water, sanitation and hygiene programmes in schools effectively. For example teachers and SMCs need to understand ways of ensuring equitable use and maintenance of facilities, making sure hygiene is adequately promoted and that monitoring of these elements takes place regularly at the school level. Furthermore, new learnings need to be infused in the sector, along with newer ways of programming and implementing a water, sanitation and hygiene programme in schools.
Download the complete Swachh Bharat: Swachh Vidyalaya document
- Pages 1-2 and 6 talk about the benefits of water sanitation and hygiene to school children, including how WASH protects children from illness, stops girls from dropping out of school and supports school nutrition.
- Page 7 talks about the legislative and policy support for WASH in Schools, including Article 21-A of the Constitution, the Right to Education Act, and flagship government programmes, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya (KGBV).
- Pages 8-13 give a range of key statistics about the status of WASH in Schools, such as the availability of handwashing facilities, clean drinking water and functional and hygienic toilets.
- Pages 19-20 give a School Maintenance Schedule for WASH outlining Daily, Weekly, Fortnightly, Monthly, Seasonal and Yearly Operation and Maintenance for facilities.
- Page 21 Snippets on WASH from text books.
- Information about how to bring about Behaviour Change for WASH to ensure lasting good practice,
- Pages 25-7: How to design a good WASH programme, including infrastructure and costs.
- Pages 29-33: Swachh Vidyalaya in Action: How to engage advocate for SBSV, including Corporates.
- Pages 35-44. Good practices in the field: WASH best practices in schools around India.