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        Good Schools need Good Students and Good Students need Good Sanitation. Sanitation is at the core of human dignity and human progress. Access to sanitary toilets not only ensures dignity of the individual but also positively impacts health, well-being and productivity, reduces drop-out rates and encourages regular attendance in schools. Recognizing both the key significance of sanitation and the role of students as Agents of Change, the Central Board of Secondary Education in collaboration with Ministry of Human Resource Development, Ministry of Urban Development and GIZ launched the National School Sanitation Initiative in 2009. The programme has gained momentum. Sanitation rating has been introduced and CBSE mandates all schools to get their ratings done. Other School Boards and individual schools are voluntarily joining the effort to provide good sanitation in schools!
  • Sanitation is defined as safe management of human excreta, including its safe confinement, treatment, disposal and associated hygiene-related practices. According to official figures 14.7 million urban households (18.6%) in India do not have access to toilets at home of which 4.7 million use public latrines and 9.96 million defecate in the open. Though sewerage systems widely exist more than 37% of faecal matter is not safely disposed. This imposes significant public health and environmental costs to urban areas that contribute more than 60% of the country‚Äôs GDP .The total fund required to bridge the gap in the urban infrastructure in India is estimated to be around INR 39 trillion (EUR 650 billion) over the next 20 years (HPEC, 2011). There are substantial deficits with respect to urban sanitation both in terms of coverage and treatment. 
  • To improve the sanitation situation in urban areas, in October 2008, the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) approved the ‚ÄúNational Urban Sanitation Policy‚ÄĚ (NUSP). NUSP incorporates a paradigm shift based on the 74th Constitutional Amendment Act (1992) to strengthen Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) and follows integrated concepts in the design and implementation of sanitation strategies. The overall goals are (a) awareness generation and behavior change, (b) achieving open defecation free cities and (c) integrated city-wide sanitation. Particular focus lies in the improvement of hygienic conditions for the urban poor (pro-poor approach) and for women by applying cost-efficient technologies.
  • Deutsche Gesellschaft f√ľr Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH under its new programme on ‚ÄúSupport to the National Urban Sanitation Policy (NUSP)‚ÄĚ supports the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD), Government of India in the aforementioned policy guideline. Amongst others GIZ has been active in 6 cities namely: (i) Shimla, (ii) Varanasi, (iii) Nasik, (iv) Raipur, (v) Tirupathi and (vi) Kochi for which City Sanitation Plans as part of Annexure II of the NUSP have been prepared.
  • GIZ in its first phase of the Sanitation programme earmarked for three years (from April 2011 till March 2014) has been focusing on the implementation of the above mentioned CSPs by preparing and supporting practical interventions in line with the CSP. Further, GIZ supports the preparation of State Sanitation Strategies in partner states.
  • In 2009, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) in collaboration with the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MoHRD), Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) and GIZ have initiated the ‚ÄúNational School Sanitation Initiative‚ÄĚ (NSSI). Schools are considered to be the most important and basic links to the young generation, with a definite reach to the parents, individual families and consequently the community. Under NSSI schools are requested to make measurable change in the sanitation situation, sanitation related hygiene practices and awareness within teachers and students.
  •        The primary objective of NSSI is to produce tangible improvement of hygiene and gender adequate access to school sanitation, awareness generation on sanitation and hygiene issues to school children, teachers, principals, administrative staff and parents and hence to create behavioral and attitudinal change towards  sanitation & hygiene within the society thereby giving it utmost importance.
  • Under NSSI it was made compulsory for CBSE schools to focus on practical aspects of sanitation, laying emphasis on personal hygiene, clean toilet habits, safe drinking water, separate toilets for girls, disposal of waste water, human excreta disposal, waste water recycling, waterless urinals, waste segregation and compositing, food hygiene and creation and conservation of green spaces. Schools are requested to register on a website and fill in a gender-sensitive questionnaire regarding their current sanitation situation to get a feedback on how to improve. As a result schools receive a rating in five color categories corresponding to infrastructure, institutional responsibility, environmental sustainability, health & hygiene and pedagogics as shown in figure 1. According to the rating achieved certificates are being issued to the respective schools. If a school improves its rating after four month a new certificate can be requested.
  • Through the online rating a database will be created that allows statistical statements on the sanitation situation in Indian Schools. At the same time the initiative seeks to support schools in concrete improvement measure by providing manuals, handbooks, e-learning and other materials.
  • MoUD officially inaugurated the NSSI in February 2009. A School Sanitation Manual has been adapted and the website was launched. On behalf of MoUD, MoHRD, and CBSE, GIZ, got aa baseline survey conducted on the existing health and sanitation scenario in schools. Based on the analysis of the collected data GIZ supports the NSSI with practical interventions in 30 identified schools especially in underserved areas. GIZ is supplying technical support to CBSE and therefore established a technical cell. CBSE has issued circulars on NSSI. Presently 754 schools (October 10th, 2012) got themselves registered to the website and received a rating. 
  • The initiative leads into awareness generation of school students, schoolteachers, staff and finally parents and the community. By including sanitation, health and hygiene as part of the curriculum sustainability will be ensured. Furthermore GIZ is setting up direct partnership with selected schools for technical interventions.
Next Steps
  • To further promote the NSSI and set incentives for schools to get themselves rated the Waves of Change (WoC) Programme has been conceptualized, which will be launched through a mega event in November 2012 covering more than 10.000 CBSE schools. In addition GIZ is giving support to states and ULBs in incorporating NSSI in the State Sanitation Strategies (SSS) and City Sanitation Plans (CSP). Hence, MoUD is about to issue advisory for State Municipal Schools to incorporate the NSSI. Further, NSSI aims to double the number of schools with adequate sanitation for girls after eight years. Therefore a concept for gender specific data query for is under development.

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