Dettol BSI, the flagship program by RB, has partnered with leading pioneer institutions to reinforce the importance of sanitation & hygiene through a comprehensive school hand WASH Programme, “Swachhta Ki Paathshala.” The hygiene curriculum was launched in partnership with Parmarth Niketan Ashram, Global Interfaith WASH Alliance, and Plan India to create awareness amongst children around hygiene practices.
In response to the ongoing pandemic, COVID-19 has underscored the importance of WASH to prevent the spread of infection, as well as for the care of those affected by the disease. As per the National Plan of Action report, about 2,200 children under five die every day because of diarrhoeal diseases. Unsafe drinking water, inadequate water for hygiene, and lack of sanitation are responsible for nearly 90 percent of these avoidable deaths. Addressing the issue at hand, the collaboration focuses on improving WASH, social development, and welfare services across school-going children across India.
The program in its first phase has partnered with Parmarth Gurukul, Rishikesh. Under this phase, the partnership program focuses on improving access to handwashing stations for students with structural modiﬁcations to ensure protection against infections.
Commenting on the partnership initiative, Ravi Bhatnagar, Director, External Affairs and Partnerships, Reckitt Benckiser Health AMESA said “We, at Dettol BSI, believe that the education catalyst to social change and one of the most critical areas of empowerment for young children. We believe in leaving no child behind when it is about access to clean water and facilities that maintain sanitation and hygiene for children and educating them about it. To drive behavior change amongst children, Dettol BSI has introduced, “Swachhta Ki Paathshala”, a kind WASH curriculum aimed at providing a safe & healthy environment for children.”
Acknowledging this collaboration, Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswati, Co-Founder/Chair, Global Interfaith WASH Alliance, President, Parmarth Niketan (Rishikesh) said “As we are all aware the Gurukul Education system is one of the most sacred and age-old institutions in India. At Parmarth Gurukul we aim to provide deep, value-based, traditional wisdom to young minds in addition to giving them the basic necessities of food, water, and shelter and also to improve the holistic wellbeing of the children. Hence, our partnership with Dettol Banega Swasth India and Plan India can play a key role in inculcating healthy and positive habits for the youth of today, the leaders of tomorrow.”
Mohammed Asif, Executive Director, Plan India, said, “Plan India remains committed to working with civil society organizations and government for advancing the rights and development of all children and promoting gender equality in India. Our priority is to support and enable girls and boys from poor and vulnerable families, to access and enjoy the various benefits and safety nets from the government schemes and welfare programs. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused disruption in the education and learning for more than 253 million schoolchildren across all States and UTs of India and it is important to bring things back to normal. It is widely accepted that piped water supply, soap for handwashing, wearing of masks, and practice of social distancing are critical to ending the COVID 19 pandemic. We are delighted and thankful to RB and Parmarth Gurukul for this partnership, which aims to strengthen the preventive public health measures through behavior change communications for school children and by making improvements in school infrastructure thus ensuring schools become safer for their pupils. Further, we are engaging and building the capacity of all school teachers and other staﬀ members to adopt the best school health practices and hence sustain the gains.”
The ongoing project has made physical changes/additions to school infrastructure that will make schools as safe as possible from infections. The comprehensive curriculum will ensure that the teachers & staff are equipped for the operation and maintenance of operations. Attempts will also be made towards an increase in training and capacity building amongst school teachers to ensure the effectiveness of the curriculum. As part of the behavior change communication activations, Dettol BSI plans to expand its Hygiene and Sanitation curriculum to 6 lakh Madrasas and Gurukuls reaching out to over 7 crore schools across multiple states in India.