The absence of safe drinking water and toilets in many schools in Rajasthan’s Alwar district used to make children fall frequently ill and seriously affect the enrolment and retention of students, especially girls.
In 2000, UNICEF with the state government launched a project to address sanitation and hygiene education in schools. Toilets were built and drinking water was provided.
Students were also educated about how to handle drinking water safely, dispose of wastewater, human excreta and garbage and act as ‘sanitation scouts’ for the community. Involving children as agents of change helped transform the mindset of communities and facilitated the widespread adoption of hygienic practices.