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School Health Program - Child-to-child approach - an effective strategy
Unsafe water supply, poor hygiene and unsanitary conditions are the major reasons for morbidity leading in many cases to death particularly among children. Promoting good hygiene practices begins with hygiene education leading to change in knowledge, attitude and behaviours. Behaviours that would prevent or reduce the incidence of water and sanitation related illness. Children are the future adults and what they learn is likely to be adapted by them throughout their lifetime and through them reach their next generation of the children. Being the members of the community of today and tomorrow, they can ensure sustainability.
Gramalaya regularly organises School Health Program in every Government Primary and Middle school in the operational area with the support of Department of Education and District Administration for the effective implementation of Water and Sanitation program at the village level. The children are considered as health ambassador for water and sanitation promotion at the individual household level. Gramalaya is also considering children as one of the stakeholders in the water, sanitation and hygiene promotion works.
As part of this program, the schools teachers are given two days orientation on Watsan program and importance of School Health program after getting the written permission from the Director of Elementary Educational Officer. The trained Health Educators from Gramalaya imparting hygiene messages and the hygiene songs written by Mr.S. Damodaran, Founder Director of Gramalaya to the school children. Also, learn while you play IEC materials on WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) such as snake and ladder chart, flash Cards, flip charts, maintenance of personal hygiene diary etc., are used by the Community Health Educators / Watsan promoters to inculcate good hygiene behaviours among the school children. The wall painting on F- Chart has also been done by Gramalaya in the school with attractive colours and charts are the inspiration to the school children to learn good hygiene behaviours and practices.
To ensure the sustainable sanitation behaviour change among the school children at school level, School Health Clubs are formed among the children who are divided into different groups such as personal hygiene committee, safe drinking water committee, food committee, school environmental committee, class room maintenance committee, toilet maintenance committee with the roles and responsibilities are given to each committee led by a leader student on rotational basis.
Apart from the above groups, the school children are motivated form the Children Group with the minimum savings with the focus on water and sanitation promotion in every school as a CBO concept.
Important events like Global Hand Washing Day on 15th October, World Environment Day on June 5th, World Water Day on March 22, World menstrual hygiene day on may 27th and World Toilet Day on November 19th are being observed every year as a part of School Health Interventions Program.