Friday, 16 October 2015

Teaching Students Relevance of Pure Water - LOTB and ASER Intervention

-Lovnish Thakur
(Lovnish manages the Learn, Out of the Box programme in Himachal Pradesh)

Water is most important element for living things and without water we all cannot survive.  Clean and adequate water is of prime importance for ensuring well being of human beings. Contaminated water causes multiple diseases and it is necessary that the same is cleaned before use.
LOTB School chosen for intervention

To create awareness among children about water and sanitation a pilot in Government High School, Nehra was held in association with ASER Centre team in Himachal Pradesh. The ASER team wanted to pilot a water testing module in Himachal Pradesh and found one of our LOTB (Learn, Out of the Box) project schools to be appropriate for this intervention.

Under this intervention, the water and sanitation campaign was carried out in two LOTB schools, one in rural location and one in urban location.

Questionnaire filling excercise
Government High School-Nehra is located in a rural 
hamlet at a distance of 25km from Shimla city. The school
is located on a hill top and offers the best climate to the young
learners. To initiate ourintervention in this school, ASER along
with Learn, Out of the Box team met with school authorities and
discussed the water and sanitation pilot that was to be done in the school.

The Principal of the school was quite happy over this development and gave us permission to take this practice with std. seventh and eighth class children. We held this pilot with 33 children of Std. 7th and 8th. There were 16 children in std. 7th and 17 in std. 8th.

The exercise was done in a period of 3 days.

Sample collection

Brief detail of day-wise activities
Day 1 of the session started with brief introduction and
we told the children about 3 day’s schedule. Household 
and school tool which was devised by ASER were 
discussed with children and they were told of ways in 
which the information was to be collected.

After discussion of household and school tool we divided children in three groups and told them to collect school tool information.

Teachers and other staff of school were equally excited about this development. By the end of the first day session we told them on the ways the water sample was to be collected from their homes. We also took water sample of school Aquagard and water tank.

On the day 2, Daulat Ram, our RPA and Rohit from ASER team collected water sample of villages from where the majority of students came to the school.  The students also filled a questionnaire devised by ASER on sanitation and water purification.

A presentation on water and sanitation along with some 
videos were also shown to the children.  Children enjoyed
videos and discussed the importance of clean water and cleanliness.

On the day 3, we discussed water results of their villages 
and filled the feedback from this workshop. Head Master 
and science teacher of the school addressed the children 
and told importance of cleanliness.

Surprisingly, the water from school filter and three of the surrounding villages was found contaminated. We covered Nehra, kayaru, Shaltu, Bhukho and Gharog villages for this pilot.  Water of Nehra Shaltu and Gharog was found contaminated.

Water samples collected by students
School children from these villages told that they will 
share the water testing result with Panchayat representatives
from their villages.

The headmaster of Govt. High School Nehra also told
that he will discuss the findings of the water test in school 
management committee meeting and will take remedial 
measures to ensure that clean water is provided to the students.

Key points from household information questionnaire filled by students:

  • 80% children lived in pucca houses.
  • Status of household indictor is good.
  • 67% houses have tap water availability and 40% houses have 24 hr availability of water.
  • 97% household told that they covered drinking water vessel.
  • 43% household used filter for purify drinking water, 40% filter from cloths, 23% boiled and 10% do nothing for purify water.
  • 74% household think that water should be purified before its use.
  • 70% household used long handle vessel to draw out water form container.
  • 97% household were satisfied from water which they drink, while the water of these households was found contaminated during water test.
  • 97% households have their own toilet and almost have a water facility.
  • Almost all know that they should wash their hand after work with soap.
  • Almost all household know that they should not throw litter in open.

It was indeed an out of the box learning experience for the students of Govt. High School-Nehra.