The 120 million children benefiting every day from a mid-day meal in public schools throughout India will soon get an additional boost for their health and education. The Minister of State for Human Resource Development, Government of India, Dr. Shashi Tharoor, announced that daily handwashing with soap will be introduced as a routine practice for children before receiving their school meals. "The nutritional Mid Day Meal will be nutritional in the truest sense if hand washing is cultivated as a habit before meals. We want every state in India to ensure good functioning WASH facilities, including simple, sustainable and scalable group hand washing facilities, with the availability of soap, in schools" he said during a workshop hosted by UNICEF India in New Delhi, attended by experts from 9 countries.
School facilities will be further enhanced with group handwashing stands, inspired by the successful Fit for School approach, spearheaded in the Philippines and other countries by GIZ and other partners.
The Honourable Minister concluded by saying "Several state governments in India with support from UNICEF have already started daily group handwashing using low-cost facilities. These experiences will be scaled up in the days to come and my Ministry is fully committed to support this cause"