Preparing leaders for WinS programmes

From R: WinS Global Chair P T Prabhakar, WinS Committee National Chair Ramesh Aggarwal and PDG Natarajan Nagoji with schoolchildren demonstrating handwash at the WinS workshop in Chennai. RISAO Programme Officer Nida Hasan (right) is also in the picture.
From R: WinS Global Chair P T Prabhakar, WinS Committee National Chair Ramesh Aggarwal and PDG Natarajan Nagoji with schoolchildren demonstrating handwash at the WinS workshop in Chennai. RISAO Programme Officer Nida Hasan (right) is also in the picture.

A training workshop for WinS facilitators from 12 districts, presided over by WinS Global Chair P T Prabhakar, was held in Goa recently. The main focus of the programme was to make ­trainers ­understand the vital parameters required by clubs to qualify for different star recognitions prescribed by RI while executing WinS projects in their regions. “Though clubs are doing a fantastic job in installing functional toilets and handwash stations,
and reaching out to adolescent girls with our MHM programmes in schools, their work is still in the dark as very few clubs are reporting it with our office,” said Prabhakar.

WinS Committee National Chair Ramesh Aggarwal and WinS ­Programme Officer from RI South Asia Office Nida Hasan shed light on the methodology to assess ­One-star recognition. The event was a platform for district leaders to share experiences and learn good practices on the subject.

The workshop had 112 delegates from 12 districts, including 20 representatives from RID 3150. These included DG Ramesh Vangla, DGE Pandi Sivannarayana Rao, DGN ­Hanmanth Reddy and PDG Ratna ­Prabhakar Anne. Dressed in blue ­t-shirts, the group, called the ‘WASH Task Force’, stood out at the two-day event.

Rotary’s biggest strength is our partnership with the UNICEF. So cash in on this forte to rope in corporates to support your WinS endeavour.
— WinS Global Chair P T Prabhakar

“Our children are not asking for a luxury car or a five-star hotel. All they want is a good, clean toilet,” said Prabhakar, highlighting a recent global baseline report of UNICEF and WHO which says that over one-third of schools worldwide and half the number of schools in developed countries have no hygiene facility. “Rotary’s biggest strength is our partnership with UNICEF. So cash in on this to rope in corporates to support your WinS endeavour.” Stressing the need for behaviour modifications in communities, Prabhakar said that children are the catalysts for change and “our efforts should strike a chord in them, so they go back home and inspire their parents and neighbours to follow hygienic practices such as using toilets and washing hands.”

The Rotary Foundation lays great stress on operation and maintenance of toilets and handwash stations in schools for a minimum of two years. “That’s our strength. Anybody can build a toilet and go away. But that does not help. We involve the school management, PTA and students committee in our programme and handhold them to make this a sustainable project so that the practices stay long after Rotary has moved over from the site,” he added.

A corporate, Pentair Water India, was felicitated at the workshop for its crucial partnership with RC Margao Midtown, RID 3170, in sponsoring $100,000 worth of WinS components in schools. The partnership has resulted in handwash stations in 100 schools, toilets in 80 schools and
40 MHM units.

RCs Dharwad Central and ­Margao Midtown hosted the workshop and Ganesh Bhat, a member of the WinS Recognition Committee, was the Convener. He said, “This is a Target Challenge pilot programme of TRF initiated in 2016 in India, Kenya, Guatamala, Honduras and Belize, and runs up to June 2020. Of the 40 districts from across the five Target Challenge countries, 38 are in India. We have to make it a success so that TRF decides to roll it over to the rest of the world.”

He urged the delegates to take the lessons learnt in this workshop to “the clubs in your district and inspire every Rotarian to implement important features of WASH in Schools in the region so that no school lacks toilets or handwash station, and no child drops out of school due to ill-health or lack of toilet facilities.” He said his objective was to get Rotary clubs to install toilets and handwash stations in at least 7,000 schools in the zone in three years.

WinS Task Force of RID 3150 with WinS Global Chair P T Prabhakar, WinS National Committee Chair Ramesh Aggarwal and its Committee Member Ganesh Bhat at the workshop in Goa.
WinS Task Force of RID 3150 with WinS Global Chair P T Prabhakar, WinS National Committee Chair Ramesh Aggarwal and its Committee Member Ganesh Bhat at the workshop in Goa.

PDG Aggarwal explained the processes to achieve different levels of star recognition. “Involve the school management committee in your programme from the start,” he said and suggested use of local products, technology and local labour to make the programme sustainable. “Clubs can also apply for Government of India’s Swachch Bharat Swachch Vidyalay Puraskar for which PRID Sushil Gupta is a nominating committee member.”

PDG Deepak Shikarpur spoke on how to attract corporate support for WinS projects. Approach small and medium-sized companies that cannot set up their own CSR trusts, he said. PDG Jorson Fernandes shed light on training teachers and other stakeholders through an interactive session.

RID 3150 PDG Ratna Prabhakar shared the district’s success story of how a demo where 25,000 schoolchildren washing hands in 100 handwash stations helped propagate the idea. The district has implemented WinS projects worth ₹2.31 crore with nine global grants and MHM awareness to 25,000 adolescent girls in the district.

RID 3190 DG Suresh Hari pointed out how repeated visits to schools and the team’s uniquely designed bookmarks with handwashing illustrations distributed to students are paying off. PDG K S Nagendra stressed on the importance of needs assessment to plan the budget and timeframe. “Work on it as you do a project management.”

Nida Hasan from the RISAO presented the WinS Target Challenge framework, TRF’s process for review and approval of application, and helped the delegates in filling up the recognition application forms.

Dr Meenakshi Bharat, a gynaecologist and member of RC Bangalore, promoted reusable pads and menstrual cup to manage menstrual cycle. “The pads we use now are not harmless as they seem. They are toxic,” she said and discouraged clubs from promoting disposable sanitary napkin vending machines and incinerators. “So much so we promote the ‘Meenakshi Bharat napkins’ said DGE Dr Sameer Hariani of the same district in a lighter vein.

A similar workshop was held in Chennai with participation of ten districts from Tamil Nadu and Kerala. In the southern city of Tirunelveli, nearly 1,000 delegates registered for the WinS seminar hosted by RC Tinnevelly, RID 3212. District WinS Chairman A S P Arumugaaselvan presided over the sessions.

Prabhakar felicitated the Rotary clubs with Achievers’ Awards for creating a record in holding WASH events in schools in the district. All the 84 clubs had reached out to 412 schools through WinS projects benefitting over two lakh students to create a record. Likewise, 57,000 girl students were sensitised on menstrual hygiene. “I congratulate the district for taking such efforts in making an impact in schools,” said Prabhakar, and lauded Arumugaaselvan for spending his ­personal funds to provide one lakh soaps to encourage students to adopt better hygiene.

DG Rajagopalan said that after Rotary’s efforts in polio eradication, its role in ushering in better sanitation among school students has taken centre stage. Out of 44 applications received world over for global grants under the WinS programme, only four were sanctioned by TRF; two were received by Indian Rotary clubs. “RC ­Virudhunagar Elite from the district got a global grant for ₹47 lakh to implement a WinS project,” he noted.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Shares
Message Us