In the race to save lives, GIWA’s field work has a special focus on India, where less people have access to healthy water, sanitation and hygiene than anywhere else in the world. We do so through our many initiatives and programmes that motivate, educate and activate the masses for lasting change.
GIWA’s Outreach Includes
Worship for WASH
Says UNICEF, “With almost 5 billion people belonging to religious communities, their leaders’ potential for action is substantial.”
That is why GIWA is bringing together the faiths of the world to help trigger and propel forth lasting change.
From our Worship for WASH Summits to large-scale public events and beyond, leaders and communities are now joining forces, and joining hands, to save lives and bring about a healthier, happier, more peaceful world.
The Swachhta Kranti (Clean Revolution)
GIWA feels that nothing short of a behaviour change revolution is required in order to ensure healthy, sustainable Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for nearly half of India’s population. Our compelling faith-based Swachhta Kranti (Clean Revolution) campaign has been designed to do just that. Through the inspirational words of beloved faith leaders, populations that had never dreamed of building and using toilets are being motivated to embrace improved sanitation and more. As they do so, they join GIWA in expanding the Swachhta Kranti campaign amongst their friends, neighbours and others through their own endeavours and by participating in GIWA’s grand processions, mass pledges, Sanitation & Hygiene Rallies and more.
WASH on Wheels
GIWA’s WASH on Wheels Programme is a historic first to unite the behaviour-influencing power of faith with conventional educational methods to educate, trigger and empower the masses- village by village, region by region- so that they may be compelled to build and use toilets, wash their hands and conserve our nation’s dwindling and increasingly-polluted water resources.
Using our two beautiful trucks, WASH on Wheels opens up to become a travelling, self-contained theatre, which delivers fun, interactive and very inspiring programmes where ever it goes: from enormous gatherings to small villages.
Its innovative approach harnesses the powerful voices of the leaders of India’s major faiths alongside interventions developed to inspire and mobilize entire
communities for lasting change. In so doing, WASH on Wheels’ on-board social worker and outreach team leads community and school programmes towards embracing the importance of toilets and other WASH essentials.
Activities include beautiful live puppet and street theater shows, the screening of videos featuring motivational messages by faith leaders, WASH-Centric Games, Community Forums, Sanitation Walks and more.
The World Toilet College, India
This one-of-a-kind institution is providing students from across India with the skills, tools and knowledge they need in order to realize Swachh Bharat Mission goals. Classes include: Household Sanitation and Hygiene, WASH in Schools, “Sanitation Ambassador” training for communities and outreach workers, Toilet Building 101, Professional Restroom Cleaning, and more. To learn more, visit our World Toilet College website at www.WorldToiletCollege.org.
The Women for WASH Initiative
GIWA’s Women for WASH Initiative is enabling women from villages and slums to become WASH entrepreneurs. Together, they are assembling to build toilets, sell toilets and wage their own local Revolution against pollution, hardship and disease by helping to ensure their neighbours embrace, and have access to toilets, clean water, and more.
This recently-launched programme, in partnership with Swarovski, is enabling teachers children from the age of eight to learn the principles of sustainable water management, sanitation, and hygiene. In so doing, we convey related theoretical knowledge through engaging experiments and practical outdoor programs. Children are encouraged to be ambassadors for the water cause so that they can pass on their knowledge to their families and communities with the aim of achieving important behavioral change. In addition, teacher training sessions help promote responsible water management by enabling them to give their own WaterSchool classes – supported by specially developed handbooks. In addition, the WaterSchool programme is providing schools in need with the toilet, handwashing and drinking water facilities they need in order to ensure the health of all children.
In India, some 24% of young girls drop out of school simply because they don’t have access to the privacy of enclosed toilet facilities. In addition, India loses an estimated 6.5% of its GDP every year due to the lost revenue and poor health that results from inadequate WASH. All the while, the environment becomes sullied by the open defecation of a population nearly the size of two United States of America put together. In response, GIWA is working to provide toilets to places that need them most, including schools, places of worship, and large festivals, such as the Kumbh Mela, which don’t have enough toilets to keep masses of people, the environment, and especially water sources, healthy.
Bio-Toilets for Healthy Lives and a Healthy Environment
Bio-digester toilets represent the latest answers in sanitation. These toilets, developed by the Department of Defense’s DRDO, uses a harmless anaerobic process which naturally dissolves all waste. The only outputs are clean, odorless, virtually pathogen-free water, which can be used for irrigation. Clean biogas is also produced, which can be harnessed to provide power for households, entire villages, even automobiles! All of this is done without chemicals, for an environment that is clean, green, healthy and serene.
Clean and Healthy Drinking Water
Countless men, women and children in India don’t have access to clean, healthy drinking water, leading to the nation having the highest rate of children suffering from stunted growth and much more. In times of disaster, matters worsen as populations risk suffering from deadly diseases from highly-contaminated water. For these reasons, GIWA provides a comprehensive water programme, which includes the provision of bio-sand water filters for schools (learn more at http://washalliance.org/projects-2/clean-water-for-all/aboutbio-sandfilters), as well as other water cleaning technologies, including sanitizing tablets and portable water filters for times of emergency. GIWA is also working to help widows earn livelihoods by enabling them to provide clean water for their neighbors.
Promoting Hand-Washing to Save Lives
- Over 1.5 million children under five die each year as a result of diarrhoea. It is the second most common cause of child deaths worldwide.
- Handwashing with soap at critical times – including before eating or preparing food and after using the toilet – can reduce diarrhoea rates by more than 40 per cent
- New studies suggest that handwashing promotion in schools can play a role in reducing absenteeism among primary school children. In China, for example, promotion and distribution of soap in primary schools resulted in 54 per cent fewer days of absence among students compared to schools without such an intervention. (All Statistics from UNICEF)
Handwashing with soap is perhaps the cheapest and easiest vacciene there is, preventing countless instances of sickness and death. For this reason, GIWA’s volunteers and medical professionals pay weekly visits to rural Indian villages, where they teach the essentials of hand-washing in a fun and interactive way. In addition, children also learn about the importance of tooth-brushing, so that they can enjoy healthy teeth for a lifetime.
The Global Interfaith WASH Alliance is currently providing disaster relief services in earthquake-torn Nepal and in flood-stricken Uttarakahand, India. Among our interventions, GIWA has provided, or is providing:
- Emergency evacuation services
- Relief camps
- Family reunification services
- Medical assistance
- Emergency aid supplies
- Fresh water
- The rebuilding of WASH-friendly schools and community centers
- The building of livelihoods centres, so that disaster-impacted people may be safeguarded from poverty
- Tree plantations to prevent future flooding
- And more
Please be sure to check our Updates section of this website for current stories on our on-going efforts as they come.
GIWA works with leaders and policy makers from across India and around the world to advocate for improved access to safe, healthy and sustainable Water,
Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) for all. We also produce informative policy papers and publications that delve deeply into pressing issues, such as sustainable development and the rejuvenation of key water sources, including the Ganga and Yamuna Rivers.