PwC joins 'Swachh Bharat'; schools access clean toilets, impacting dropout

MUMBAI: Corporates undertake social responsibility. Joining the national focus on empowering the girl child (Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao) and providing sanitation facilities in the country (Swachh Bharat), the PwC India Foundation in collaboration with NGO FINISH Society held the closing ceremony of its year-long school sanitation project in Ajmer that directly impacts 9000 girls.

The two phased project saw 11 Government Schools from this Smart City being provided with child friendly WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) facilities that included handwashing stations, supporting Operations & Maintenance (O&M) of these facilities for a year, running a 90-day hygiene curriculum to promote safe hygiene practices, refurbishing existing toilets and building new toilet complexes. Addressing all aspects of sanitation, phase I looked at six schools while phase II covered five schools, impacting over 9000 girl children.

The closing ceremony was graced by PwC India COO Satyavati Berera, and PwC India Foundation vice chairman Jaivir Singh at the Govt. Girls Senior Secondary School Beawar Cantt. students, teaching staff and the school management committee.

Singh said, “The feedback from Phase I has been extremely positive. While students and teachers took the onus of managing these facilities, we had few students who didn’t have toilet facilities at home demand the same from their parents after learning the benefits of safe hygiene at school that we facilitated. Our NGO and school supported this initiative of the students wholeheartedly. For us, this was a huge mind-set change.

Our girls are valuable and deserve a private, safe and hygienic environment to manage their bodily functions, including their period without fear and embarrassment. With the completion of the Second Phase, we are optimistic of the changes that our girls will experience with these new facilities in place.”

The broad objectives of this intervention have been to support improved sanitation and hygiene facilities as essential components of a Child Friendly School (CFS), design and construct innovative school toilet blocks which can be replicated as a model. The project aims to create an inclusive environment in schools that promote and safeguard health and hygiene, contribute towards increasing the enrollment and retention of children in schools and empower children to be change agents.

PwC India Foundation will continue to engage with the schools through FINISH Society and monitor the impact of the programme for the next couple of months.

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