- Raising awareness and educating children in schools and in communities about personal hygiene, sanitation, cleanliness, and the environment with the goal of promoting positive behavioural changes
The Pratham Council for Vulnerable Children (PCVC) has been working for the rights of children across the slum communities in Mumbai since 2001. One of the most glaring observations in these slums has been the low standards of hygiene and sanitation practiced by the government and the residents making them susceptible to all kinds of illnesses and in addition also affects the productivity of the workforce and the development of the children. These appalling conditions that children live in are a violation of their right to a safe and healthy childhood.
Some of the finding of the baseline study in the schools and communities are:
- 91% schools have no access to a doctor in case of an emergency.
- Schools in wards ME and L wards face acute problem of shortage of water.
- 65% of toilets in schools do not have soap and water for hand washing.
- 83% children and almost the same number of adults use Public Toilets in Communities.
- More than 80% of the children in these schools are addicted to junk food.
- Majority of the communities face problems in terms of water supply, clean toilets and proper infrastructure.
It is with the goal to affect some change in these slum areas of Mumbai that PCVC took up the challenge to implement PHASE in some of these communities. The idea was to use the municipal schools in these communities as a hub through which a larger message on personal hygiene and sanitation education could be spread across the most vulnerable slum pockets. The focus is on inculcating proper hygiene behaviours in the children to bring about a positive change in their general health and will therefore improve not only their attendance but also their performance in the school.
In the next three years PHASE focus on achieving three major objectives:
- Increased awareness of personal hygiene and sanitation behaviour among the children
- Initiating community participation on the issue of personal hygiene and community health
- Capacity building of the staff and the school administration to deal better with the issues relating to health and hygiene