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United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Children as agents of change- an intervention in Kerala (India) on WASH in Schools

Non-governmental organization (NGO)

    WASH in Schools (WinS) programme have profound impact on the learning ability of children, especially for girls. In many cases, girls remain vulnerable to dropping out of schools and reluctant to go to schools due to lack of appropriate toilet and handwashing facilities. WASH in Schools (WinS) initiative in India reported to increase girls participation, develops positive hygiene behaviors, offers the opportunity to translates good practices in their families as well as in the community. It was further noted that children are found to be powerful agents of change not only in their homes but also in their community as well. In several cases, children act as messengers of “good hygiene practices” in their society to a great extent. Messages of good hygiene practices found to be well accepted by different sections of the society and have prolonged impact on the prevailing hygiene habit of the community. Handwashing with soap is a classical example of message transferred to the community by the awareness-cum-practical training of schoolchildren of higher secondary schools and observed a tremendous impact on the attitude of adults. Community members are also able to understand the dangers of poor sanitation and hygiene environment; and have attained the capacity to overcome the situation with remedial measures. In this context, the present intervention was undertaken entitled Children are agents of change- an intervention in Kerala on WASH in Schools with an objective to provide better hygiene behavior and healthy environment in schools in order to improve the quality of life of the future generation. Further, it was noted that if we provide safe water, better sanitation facilities and information on hygiene ; children will act as role models of the society and that will definitely reflects in their homes as well as in the community.

    It was observed that 95% of households reported to be used to wash their hands with soap after defecation or on critical time. Further, 90% of people in the project area used to dump waste materials in designated places. Ninety eight percent were used to wash their hands before and after eating. The usage of toilet reported as 100% but only 65% of toilets observed as sanitary latrines. The usage of foot-wares in toilet reported to be 93%. The habit of daily cleaning of toilet was observed as 98%. Proper disposal of sanitary pads and other cloth recorded to be 90%. It was observed that 98% of households in the project area used to cover food items. Further, 94% used proper handling of drinking water. It was noticed that 90% households used to disinfect the dug well water by chlorination or some other ways of purification methods. The survey data indicated 95% of reduction of water-borne and water related diseases in the project area when compare with the previous five years. Another significant observation was the 100% open defecation free households in the project area.

    Expected Impact

    a).To ensure the basic Right of the Child such as safe drinking water and sanitation and hygiene facilities under the preview of Right to Education (RTE). To scale up the observation by the Supreme Court of India on Right to Education (RTE) that every school in India has requisite number of teachers, potable water, toilets, safe building and other such facilities for students. b) All developing countries need to endorse Right to Education (RTE) as a fundamental right to all children including potable water, separate toilets for boys and girls, privacy of girl students and MHM facilities. c) Partnerships with governments, donors, community-based organisations (CBOs), non governmental organisations (NGOs), teachers, children and school administrators are essential elements to achieve the sustainability of school sanitation and hygiene education programmes. d).To highlight the duty of all stakeholders to convey the message that "children are effective agents of change and schools are the ideal places of learning for children; and that they have a crucial role in the process of community development" e).To support efforts to implement environmental awareness/school sanitation/hygiene education in school syllabus for a healthy school environment. Capacity building is needed at all levels. Child friendly especially girl child and disabled friendly water and sanitation design options essential.


    Local Self Governments (Panchayats/PRIs), PTA, Teachers, Students, NGOs, Union and State governments, Eco-clubs, WASH Committees and donor agencies

    Additional information



    Goal 6

    Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

    Goal 6


    By 2030, achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all


    Proportion of population using safely managed drinking water services


    By 2030, achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations


    Proportion of population using (a) safely managed sanitation services and (b) a hand-washing facility with soap and water


    By 2030, improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally


    Proportion of domestic and industrial wastewater flows safely treated


    Proportion of bodies of water with good ambient water quality


    By 2030, substantially increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity

    Change in water-use efficiency over time


    Level of water stress: freshwater withdrawal as a proportion of available freshwater resources


    By 2030, implement integrated water resources management at all levels, including through transboundary cooperation as appropriate


    Degree of integrated water resources management 


    Proportion of transboundary basin area with an operational arrangement for water cooperation


    By 2020, protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes

    Change in the extent of water-related ecosystems over time


    By 2030, expand international cooperation and capacity-building support to developing countries in water- and sanitation-related activities and programmes, including water harvesting, desalination, water efficiency, wastewater treatment, recycling and reuse technologies

    Amount of water- and sanitation-related official development assistance that is part of a government-coordinated spending plan


    Support and strengthen the participation of local communities in improving water and sanitation management


    Proportion of local administrative units with established and operational policies and procedures for participation of local communities in water and sanitation management

    Name Description

    Scaling up of WASH in Schools (WinS) in 14 districts of Kerala (India)

    Financing (in USD)
    50,000 USD (including in-kind contribution)
    No progress reports have been submitted. Please sign in and click here to submit one.
    Action Network
    water logo
    Dr. Roy Kunjappy
    1. Asia and Pacific
    Geographical coverage
    Other beneficiaries

    Children especially adolescent girls, local communities

    More information
    Contact Information

    ROY, Executive Director