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Kemira and Plan building a better future for school children in India

Common projects on three continents

Kemira has been working together with Plan for the benefit of children for several years, the latest common projects taking place in India. Plan is an international development organization promoting children’s rights, and it runs projects in 50 countries. Kemira was involved in three of them in the years 2009–2011: in Ethiopia the focus was on childhood illnesses, health training and clean water supplies; in Bolivia on early childhood services providing for example hygiene education for children; and in Garsain, India, school sanitation and fresh water were in the center of the project, and the cooperation continued until June 2012.

Increased attendance and better health

In the schools of Garsain the need for a water and sanitation program was urgent. According to India’s Department of Drinking Water Supply, five out of ten most common causes for children’s deaths are related to water, sanitation and hygiene, and a staggering 1,000 children die daily of diarrhea.

Plan India mapped the condition of almost 2,500 Indian schools, and concluded that in 80% of the schools the toilets were unusable, and in 90% the quality of water was insufficient. According to Plan, improving water and sanitation conditions in schools have many other benefits in addition to positive health effects. Other outcomes include increased attendance rates in schools and fewer pupils who drop out, which shows especially among adolescent girls.

Concrete actions and education for the future

Kemira and Plan’s development project in Garsain focused on improving hygiene and the supply of fresh water in target area schools, as well as raising awareness among authorities of the importance of these issues. Via this project seven schools received basic sanitation infrastructure, thousands of school children participated in hygiene classes, and awareness raising workshops were organized. Through these activities children, teachers as well as community members received valuable information on sanitation and hygiene. Furthermore, water and sanitation committees were formed in schools, which are from now on responsible for bringing possible problems to the awareness of the authorities.