Sensitising Children on the Importance of Using Toilets
© UNICEF India/2010
Children washing their hands after using toilets in Borigumma block of Koraput district in the Eastern Indian state of Orissa..
KORAPUT, Orissa, India, 20 April 2010 – Dalimbo, Saroj and Chanchala Jani hail from different villages in Borigumma block of Koraput district, but they have been able to achieve the same thing.
Enthused by the hygienic experience of using toilets in their schools, these children were able to convince their parents and community leaders of the benefits of having toilets in their homes. The children are hopeful that their homes will soon have toilets.
Bijay Rath, a teacher in the school managed by Harijan and Tribal Welfare Department at Hardoli village in Borigumma has seen a gradual change in the habits of children with regard to using toilets in the last few years.
“The toilets in Podeiguda Sevasram have separate latrine and urinals in the same complex and have been well received by the students. They have been quite effective in encouraging positive behavior change among the students.” says Mr. Nath.
“Though most of the children don’t have toilets and latrines in their homes, they have learnt to use them effectively after using them in the schools.” adds Mr. Nath.
Chanchala Jani is a student from Podeiguda village in Borigumma. She says that the water facilities near the toilets at Hardoli and inside the complex at Podeiguda have encouraged the students to use the toilet regularly.
“All the toilets have clean water and soap in addition to slippers. Children are happy to use the toilets rather than go out and defecate in the open,” says Jani.
With the support of the District Water and Sanitation Mission (DWSM) and UNICEF, all schools in Podeiguda Sevasram, even the small ones have a toilet complex with separate latrines and urinals for boys and girls.
Several sensitization campaigns on the impact of safe environment on health have also been successful in sensitizing the students about the importance of practicing safe behaviour.
“Children are now more aware about the advantages of using toilets and most of them use toilets rather than defecating in the open,” says Ishwar Chandra Nayak, headmaster of a school in Borigumma,.
“Students understand that use of toilets not only protects their privacy but also provides them with a cleaner environment,” adds the headmaster.
The successful use of toilets by children in Borigumma has encouraged the District Water and Sanitation Mission (DWSM) to double their efforts to construct toilets in all 2659 schools in the district.
DWSM has already reached the 95 per cent of the target and has constructed toilets in 2512 schools across the district.