Water.org’s local partner organizations design programs with the belief that sanitation and hygiene awareness starts at an early age. ASOMI, for example, works directly with schools in communities where they can make the greatest impact. At the Konwarpur ME School, ASOMI organized a children’s health club and the students elected a 6th grade boy named Parchurjya Bairagi. With the support of an ASOMI Health Officer, Parchurjya has been practicing and promoting model hygiene and sanitation behavior among his classmates, supervising personal hygiene, and involving them in school cleaning activities.
While discussing the progress of the children’s health club in his school, he noted that his rural family was not aware of good hygiene and sanitation practices. The family suffered from continuous illness, which he now attributes to the absence of good hygiene practices among family members. After being trained on various issues related to health and hygiene practices in the school’s club, he learned how to share the information effectively. Now, he feels healthier than before and his family noticed that the illness rate declined directly afterward. Since then, he has learned to be an agent of change and promotes best practices in his school and wider community.
Parchurjya believes that he will able to spread hygiene and sanitation practices across the village of Konwarpur within a few months, thereby making it a healthier place to live. His success in bringing attitudinal change among people has become a replicable model for other youth in the program area.