By OUR STAFF REPORTER
DEHRADUN, 15 Jul: The US Agency for International Development (USAID), Plan India, Shri Bhuvneshwari Mahila Ashram (SBMA) and others today hosted a half-day-long event to celebrate their three-year partnership under the Swachh Bharat Swachh Vidyalaya (SBSV) Dehradun city programme. Governor Baby Rani Maurya, Mayor Sunil Uniyal ‘Gama’, MLA Khajan Das, Anand Rudra, Senior Advisor WASH (USAID), Dr Nabaneeta Rudra, Senior Technical Advisor – WASH (Plan India), Gyan Singh Rawat, Secretary, were key participants at the event. The ‘Urban WASH – Swachh Bharat Swachh Vidyalaya’ (WASH – Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) Project is a three year initiative supported by USAID, Plan India, etc. The project aims at promoting sanitation, effective use and ownership of school Water, Sanitation and Hygiene infrastructure in 60 schools (20 schools in each) spread across three cities i.e. Vishakhapatnam, Pune and Dehradun. SBSV engages school children and contributes to the Swachh Bharat Mission, a Government of India initiative. The project is moving towards scale and self-reliance with support of the City Corporation, Education Department and the Private Sector. In the SBSV Dehradun project, around 7000 girls and boys have gained access to potable water and safe sanitation, while capacities of 20 teachers, 328 School Management Committees (SMCs) members, 320 BSS members and four communities have been enhanced for sustainable WASH. On the occasion, the Operation & Maintenance (O&M) Guideline, Bal Swachhata Samiti (BSS) guideline and IEC messaging kit developed by SBSV for school WASH, was also launched by the Governor. The knowledge products will serve as a resource tool for implementing school WASH efforts by the Urban and Education Department of the city. USAID has been supporting this SBSV initiative since 2016 and it is anticipated that it will be taken forward with the support of Department of Education and Dehradun Municipal Corporation. Governor Maurya laid emphasis on the importance of WASH in School in making the environment conducive for children to become sensible citizens of the country. She urged the Principals of all the Schools to interact with the children closely on the issue. She directly interacted with the Principals to validate the SBSV achievements in bringing in behaviour change among the school children. The Principals came forward in affirmation and requested to help in engaging organisation in this endeavour. In addition, referring to the new Jal Shakti Ministry mandate for addressing the Water Conservation, she said that all the stakeholders must join hands to develop sustainable models including in schools by engaging children for a better and secure future. The Governor also called for an immediate meeting with the Department of Education, Nagar Nigam, Plan India and USAID to discuss the way forward of this initiative to be replicable in all the schools of Dehradun City. The Dehradun city School Wash Forum was also launched at this event. Mayor Sunil Uniyal ‘Gama’ applauded the WASH in Schools initiative in the SBSV 20 schools and assured his support for scaling up in other schools. MLA Khajan Das acknowledged the confidence amongst the SBSV School children contributed by the SBSV – Dehradun programme. Additional Commissioner Neeraj Joshi acknowledged the SBSV- Dehradun programme. All the participants signed the Dehradun School WASH Forum which is one of the critical way forward actions of the programme.