The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the child,1989 states ‘the child shall have the right to freedom to seek, receive and impart information(article 12), has access to information and material which are aimed at the promotion of his or her social, spiritual and moral well- being and physical and mental health(article 17) and that the education shall be directed to the development of the child’s personality,talents and mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential(article 23).Life skills-based hygiene education focuses on the development of knowledge, attitudes and skills that support people/children in taking a greater responsibility for their own lives. It helps children to acquire and practise good health behaviours along with the underlying knowledge and positive attitudes. It also helps children to develop and strengthen their general interpersonal and psycho-social capabilities or life skills. Life skills are abilities for adaptive and positive behaviour that enable individuals to deal effectively with the demands and the challenges of everyday life (WHO 2000).
Knowing the importance of the promotion of good hygiene behaviours associated with the prevention of water and sanitation-related infectious diseases among children, the Goodwill social work centre proposes to launch ‘Life skills-based hygiene education through capacity building, advocacy,media interventions resource sharing and information networking initiative for school children in rural and urban areas in and around Madurai,Tamilnadu,India. The project will focus on empowering children with information dissemination through the use of traditional and modern media of communications. The curriculum will include Children rights with a focus on environmental health rights, water,sanitation and waste,personal and food hygiene,water and sanitation related diseases that have an impact on health and facilities for water,sanitation and hygiene within schools,households and community.
The project is designed as an intervention-oriented research within the framework of quasi-experiemental. It will comprise pre and post assessment surveys to assess the knowledge, attitudes and practices among the selected population. The primary data will be collected from the participants through interview method. The data will be analysed using elements of quantitative and qualitative research approaches. In addition, the focus group discussions with children will be made. The collection of data will result in the form a study report which will be a useful source of information for replicating the project elsewhere.
Promotion of personal hygiene and environmental sanitation in schools therefore helps children to adopt good habits during their formative childhood. What children learn in school they can and often do pass on in their families and communities, both at the time of learning and during their lives as parents and grandparents. However, the learning potential of many children and adolescents is compromised by conditions and behaviours that undermine the physical and emotional well-being that makes learning possible. In many countries, schools are some of the most crowded places. These conditions facilitate the spreading of micro-organisms that cause diseases. When water, sanitation and hygiene conditions are poor, instead of safeguarding children from the transmission of infectious diseases, school environments are full of health hazards. Hence, education on health and hygiene has to go hand in hand with physically safe and well-kept hygiene facilities to make schools safe places for children’s development.
Safe and hygienic schools and effective education require the participation of parents, teachers, NGOs and civil society groups and above all, children. At all ages, children and adolescents can be engaged actively in learning experiences that enable them to practise basic hygiene and sanitation and advocate it at home and in their community. It is also important to focus on children because they are the parents of the future. Life skills-based hygiene education can help to create effective education and hygienic schools by giving children not only knowledge but also attitudes and skills for coping with life (hence the term life skills). Part of this coping is in water, sanitation and hygiene and includes the learning of practical hygiene skills. Life skills- based hygiene education helps children to change behaviour and so reduce risks and prevent water and sanitation related diseases. Teaching children through life skills-based hygiene education materials involves the use of interactive and participatory methods with room for information focused sessions and child-centred sessions.
Life skills-based hygiene education focuses on the development of knowledge, attitudes and skills that support people/children in taking a greater responsibility for their own lives. It helps children to acquire and practise good health behaviours along with the underlying knowledge and positive attitudes. It also helps children to develop and strengthen their general interpersonal and psycho-social capabilities or life skills. Life skills are abilities for adaptive and positive behaviour that enable individuals to deal effectively with the demands and the challenges of everyday life (WHO 2000). Examples of interpersonal and psycho-social capabilities (or life skills) are assertion, negotiation, empathy building and stress-coping skills. Life skills-based education addresses real-life applications of knowledge, attitudes and skills, and makes use of participatory and interactive teaching and learning methods. It can be applied to many issues and aspects of life such as peace, human rights, or the environment.
Children who live in villages and backward areas in and around Madurai, Tamilnadu, India need a decent, secure, affordable home which is fundamental to the realization of children’s rights. The quality of housing affects girls’ and boys’ health and overall environment. Their health and survival depends as much on healthy environments as on health services. In fact, these children are particularly affected by health related problems which are related to water and sanitation and they are susceptible to diarrhoeal diseases, intestinal worms and various eye and skin ailments. Inadequate living environments namely environmental chaos, stress and parenting, poor housing, absence of safe informal public gathering places, lack of easy access to opportunities for safe play, absence of constructive opportunities for young people, repeated
exposure to violence in hazardous in rural and semi- urban environment etc impact the quality of life of children.
The objectives of the project are as follows:
1. To impart Life skills-based hygiene education to school children in low and moderate income families who are in the age group of 6-9 and 10-17.
2. To provide participatory learning experiences to the children that will aim to develop the knowledge, attitudes and especially skills needed to take positive actions to create or maintain hygienic conditions through artwork and media interventions.
3.Prepare children to share environment related health information with others on a child- to-child and child-to-community level.
Rationale of the project:
•In general, children in rural and semi urban India lack the basic information on the life
skills based hygiene. Promotion of life skills-based hygiene education in schools and
institutional home care for children helps children to adopt good habits during their
•Schools in villages and urban areas do not concentrate on promoting life skills-based
hygienic behaviours nor do they have environment and hygiene education in the formal or
•Safe water and sanitation are essential for a healthy learning environment. Appropriate
hygiene behaviour by all users children is essential to derive the full health benefits from
•Children lack the opportunities to learn and explore their environment physically and
•Children are easy to reach and indispensable component in achieving sustainable
•Accessing children to life skills-based hygiene education will protect them from dangers
•It is a social facility enjoyed by the children in villages and backward areas in the cities.
•Life skills- based hygiene education and networking will attract children's attention and
•Children have the right to participate fully in life skills education and learn about water,
sanitation and personal hygiene which protect and promote environmental health rights
and well being.
•The programme will create a healthy and safe learning environment and help
children to develop knowledge, attitudes and life skills - that is, skills to cope with
life - that support the adoption of good hygiene behaviours and better health and
eventually reach out to families and communities to stimulate safe hygiene and
sanitation practices by all community members.
Life skills-based hygiene education offers an effective approach to equipping children with the knowledge, attitudes and skills that they need to help them avoid risk-taking behaviours and adopt healthier life styles. The expected outcomes will include
• Development of knowledge most relevant to the elements of life skills-based hygiene
education being addressed;
• Development of specific psychosocial (or life) skills – such as assertion, negotiation, empathy building – most relevant to the local challenges to health, hygiene, andwell-being;
• Development of positive attitudes and motivation to use the skills and knowledge to promote health and hygiene;
• Development of necessary hands-on skills such as proper hand washing and use of latrines, as well as skills in proper operation and maintenance of facilities and, where relevant, building skills for construction of facilities;
• Opportunities to model and practise the knowledge, attitudes and skills within the school context and local environment.
Children will have the skills to critically analyse local conditions and find solutions that fit
local means and culture. They will also have the relevant knowledge to guide their actions. They will develop positive attitudes to adopt and sustain a healthy life style during their days in school and during the rest of their lives.
This is a project based on our wide experiences in organising environmental education and communication programmes for children in villages and children's rights including
environment health rights through artwork project for school children.
Our experiencees in organising Children environmental health rights programmes
A.Environmental education and communication projects for children in villages,Madurai,India ( Funded byIDRC,Canada & Dupont South Asia Ltd)
The Goodwill social work centre has had wide previous professional and experience in
undertaking rights based environment education and communication projects for rural children and youth in ten villages in the Narikudi village panchayat block, Kamarajar district, Tamilnadu, South India under the aegis of the International Development Research Centre, Ottawa, Canada.(1994-1995),which was replicated in Therkutheru Villages, Madurai East Village panchayat union block, Madurai district, Tamilnadu, South India, funded by US based DuPont South Asia Limited, Madurai under Safety Health and Environment (SHE)
award(1996-1998). The following strategies included.
1. Setting up Children’s Environmental Rights Centre.
2. Designing a curriculum on Environmental Education.
3. Focus on
environmental rights education & Training.
4 Training for village male and female Animators.
5. Enrolment of children (Girls and Boys)
6. Pre-assessment survey.
7. Time frame for Environmental rights sessions and media interventions.
8. Program implementation .
9 Post evaluations.
The environmental health rights program components comprised
1.rigth based education and training
2. Participatory training
3. Field study and exposure visits
4.Media interventions (Traditional and modern methods of communication applications).
The above projects have indicated the following recommendations.
1. Being an innovative intervention action program for the children in villages, the responses and the level of participation of all children in the program were more encouraging and invigorating at every stage. In addition to the surveyed respondents, more children showed enthusiasm to participate in the program. Obviously enough, there is a imperative need for organizing similar programmes for children in the rural areas in villages in India and other developing countries, which will certainly benefit them for the present and the future
2. Longitudinal studies on media interventions in environmental rights education program for children are highly recommended for greater impact on them. Such programmes undertaken for children on a fairly longer period will certainly prove to be productively useful and meaningful to them.
3. It is highly recommended that this action research may be replicated and
implemented in every village in the rural areas. There is a need to focus on future research in this direction. Further, specially designed environmental rights education may be organized for urban children particularly in slums and backward areas.
4. Studies on environmental health for rural children and children’s rights and sustainable development, combining research as a major intervention in these programmes could be attempted.
5. In line with the methods design adopted in the present research, studies on girls and young women’s participation in environmental rights and communication in villages in suggested.
6. Communication application in promoting environmental rights among children should be promoted and a variety of media could be used in making the program truly effective and enriching for the children.
7. It is essential that school teachers, informal youth leaders and volunteers in villages should be sensitized to the environmental rights of children and trained on communication applications for promoting environment related rights among the school and non-school children.
8.Most importantly, greening the young minds of children through promoting digital opportunities to have access to on line communication and information on environmental issues and threats affecting their lives and their environmental rights and needs in villages in India is an urgent need for the present and future generation.
B. Children's rights through artwork project-A rights based programming
combining children's rights and artwork(Funded by Art Venture,Singapore)
As part of our Children's rights through artwork project supported by ART VENTURE,Singapore, Goodwill social work centre has formed 'Children's rights through artwork groups' of girls and boys who are in the 7-17 years of age with a view to building a holistic understanding the United Nations Convention on the rights of the child and various children's rights and the issues which affect children,combing arts with a study of the UN convention on the rights of children as a way to promote children’s understanding of their legal status in society and developing art skills, improve self confidence and enhance creative and enjoyment in the arts and to know of their rights to childhood. Through the formation of artwork groups a social awareness is created among the children and local communities as well concerning various rights based issues namely poverty, education, food and nutrition, health and shelter ,peace, discrimination, disability, child labour,armed conflicts, sexual exploitation, environment, violence against children, media, children in conflict with law.
Children are trained in various forms of arts namely water colouring,painting,pencil sketching, oil on canvas Painting,miniature painting, cartooning and computer graphics,pottery, painting, portrait and figure drawing ,floor painting – rangoli and kollam,crayons and oil pastel work,modern painting,clay modeling,glass painting,Tanjore painting, pencil drawing, pot painting and embossed painting, folk arts and dances,which are used to portray and convey messages relating to children's rights to survival, protection, development and participation that are enshrined in the UN Convention of the rights of the child. Children learn of the various issues and concerns which affect them through their active participation in the artwork.The most celebrated forms of folk arts used in the training include Kuravan- kurathi Aattam(Gypsy dance), Bharathanatyam (classical dance), Karagaattam(with a brass vessel on head), Peacock dance,Dummy Horse Dance dance,Dummy Bull dance, kavadiattam,kollattam(using two batons), Puppetry, Oyilaattam (Ribbon dance), folk songs etc. In point of fact, the art painting and folk art media serve as power tools to promote and propagate the rights of children among the children and local communities. Children in these artwork groups not only get themselves empowered but also sensitise other children to their rights and needs and also adults as to their responsibility in protecting and promoting the ethos of 'Children First' through their artwork.
The artwork of our children's groups may viewed at our web albums and video links:
The Children's rights through artwork is a unique project which is aimed empowering children in the age group of 7-17 with information on their rights,developing skills in them in arts and learning to combine arts with the study on their rights and inspiring them to discover their unique talents through a variety of hands-on workshops in arts and crafts and folk arts. These children put their creative energy into their artistic expression. They show a high level of creativity in their artwork and a inner-connective knowledge and awareness of child rights issues and concern which affect them and children worldwide. Goodwill social Work Centre believes that the art painting,murals,art models they make and their learning of children rights through folk arts will make an impact on the viewers and inspire them become more proactive in the protection and promotion of children's rights,which is an adult obligation .
C.GOODWILL'S children from Madurai give water a voice to promote the right
to water in International poster contests organised by NV-OC,USA,2008- 2009
Our organisation has been able to take up children's rights through artwork supported by ART VENTURE,Singapore and a Rain centre for local children and communities supported by Nature's voice-Our choice,USA. A phenomenal achievement is that five students from our children's rights through artwork programme were selected as winners at the international poster contest 2008 on theme 'What Water Means in my Life' organised by the Nature's Voice-Our Choice,USA.
Three of our children from Madurai,India (out of six non US international students) under our 'Children's rights through artwork project' supported by ART VENTURE,Singapore have been declared as International poster contest winners at the Second annual International Poster Contest 2009 sponsored by Nature's Voice-Our Choice,USA.
As part of our art training programme for children we conducted a series of poster contests on the themes 'Water and Culture" and 'right to environment' for school children from February,15, 2009 to March 10, 2009 in and around Madurai,Tamilnadu,India. Of 2440 posters made by children, 966 posters were selected for submission to the Nature's Voice-Our choice,USA for the 2009 World water Day International Poster contest.It is a proud moment for GOODWILL to make known that three children under the Children's rights through artwork project have been selected as international poster contest winners. Of 3000 children from 8 different countries and throughout the United States participated in the Second annual International Poster Contest 2009 sponsored by Nature's Voice-Our Choice ,USA. Of 12 children were selected as International poster contest winners 3 children are from Goodwill Social work Centre,Madurai,India. Our Three winners and their winning posters can be viewed at our web album link:
D.Invitation to check out URL: http://www.naturesvoice-ourchoice.org/students-
give- water-a-voice.html from the website of Nature's Voice-Our Choice,USA
It is a proud moment for us to share this URL: http://www.naturesvoice-ourchoice.org/students-give-water-a-voice.html from the website of Nature's Voice-Our Choice,USA, which contains information on our children under our 'Children's rights through artwork project' giving water a voice at the world water day International poster contests 2008 and 2009 organised by the Nature's Voice-Our Choice,USA. Five children from our project were selected as International poster contest winners at the 2008 poster contest and three children at the 2009 International poster contest. You may please check out the video in the URL to see our children at artwork. Please click on “Students awards and recognition” to view our web album about the award distribution function organised by Goodwill Social Work Centre,Madurai,India.
Our experiences have shown that though these activities and services which are being offered to boys and girls who hail from villages and urban slums areas have impacted the quality of their life to an appreciable extent and the extent of their participation in the programmes is found to be fairly high, the need for promoting ‘Life skills-based hygiene education for school aged children especially in low and moderate income families in villages and urban areas is of paramount importance.
Knowing the importance of the promotion of good hygiene behaviours associated with the prevention of water and sanitation-related infectious diseases among children the Goodwill social work centre proposes to launch ‘Life skills-based hygiene education to cater to the needs of children in low and moderate income communities in and around Madurai, Tamilnadu, South India and backward areas in and around Madurai, Tamilnadu, South India.
This is a development project for empowering children and young people in rural and urban areas .The indicators and the evaluation of the project are described below:
The evaluation of the project undertaken by the Goodwill Social Work Centre will include
outcome evaluation to assess the extent to which the Life skills based hygiene education and training through artwork programme achieve its outcome-oriented objectives.This evaluation will examine the programme processes and activities undertaken for children as to the level of knowledge about their rights and how they able to combine with the study of the UN convention on the rights of the child through their participation in arts programming.Goodwill Social Work Centre will also use process/implementation evaluation to assess the extent to which the arts programme operations/activities conform to the design of the project. Further, the project will use impact evaluation to assess the net effect of the programme relating to children's right to water, children’s arts education and arts participation. Both qualitative and quantitative ways of measuring in terms of the project goal, objectives,outputs and activities will be done. All information will be properly documented and presented in the form of study reports.
The project will use of documentation of events which will involve recording information about various kinds of intervention used in this project. The Project holder and project staff will be documentors who will collect data on and analyze each art event/programme. The documentation will contain some text but the most important part is the information presented in non-textual documents namely, photographs, art murals, models, art exhibits, video recording of events, slide shows etc.Some documents will be made available to the public through local print media and Goodwill’s website and networking websites on the internet as web publishing. GOODWILL will keep written journals to chart the arts programming organized for the children.
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