Rotary District 3211 launched its WinS programme for the year at the Sarvodaya Vidyalaya in Thiruvananthapruam in the presence of DG Suresh Mathew, District WinS Coordinator R Reghunath, WinS Chair Mathew Verghese and DGN Shirish Keshavan. Rotary clubs of Trivandrum organised the mass awareness programme where Lok Sabha MP Shashi Tharoor was the chief guest. Over 2,500 children of the school participated in the hand wash demo and other sanitation workshops that formed part of WinS. It was a renewed focus on health and sanitation for the school children. Leaflets describing the right way of washing hands were given to them to help spread the message in their localities.
Soon after the launch, Tharoor tweeted “Inaugurating Rotary’s WinS programme (wash in schools) to promote sanitation. Kids must be change agents for better health.”
The District had exceeded its goals in the last two years. “We adopted 1,169 schools in 2015–16, and 2,432 schools last year,” said Reghunath. New toilet blocks and handwash stations, along with water facilities, were constructed for schools that lacked these facilities, and where the sanitation facilities were in a dilapidated state, clubs helped renovate them. Training school teachers and students in hygiene practices were undertaken by club members in all the schools. “We have achieved behavioural change in remote villages too, as advocated by WinS Target Challenge Committee Chair Sushil Gupta. Children across Kerala have been catalysts in promoting the use of toilets and healthy handwash habits in their communities.”
The district, with a global grant support, constructed 36 toilet blocks in the State at a cost of Rs 1.46 crore.
WinS Target Challenge Competitive Grant
More recently, the district got approval for its proposal submitted to TRF under the new ‘WinS Target Challenge Competitive Grant’. “Ours is one among the 13 projects from the five Target Challenge countries that have been approved for this specific grant,” said Reghunath.
The Rotary Foundation trustees have approved this grant specially for the five participating countries — India, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and Kenya. The grant process will be administered in two phases. Under the first phase, clubs/districts can apply for grants upto $10,000 for assessing the needs of schools in the respective communities; 10–12 proposals will be selected for the grant.
The next phase involves upgrading schools to higher star-levels as prescribed in the WinS format. About 3–5 sustainable projects will be selected in this phase and will be eligible for $150,000 to 500,000 funding from the grant.
The district’s target this year is to adopt 1,500 schools for sanitation and Reghunath is confident of covering 2,000 schools. “Our people now know what has to be done and how to achieve each step,” he says.