The Resource Water is Extremely Important for PeopleAs part of global megatrends, the vital resource water is becoming increasingly scarce in many places of the world. Access to both drinking water and sanitation is a major problem, especially for poor people in emerging and developing countries. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 2.4 billion people worldwide have no access to sanitary facilities. (http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs392/en/)
With our products, we contribute to a functioning and resourceefficient water supply in many regions of the world (Products). We have therefore decided to begin our first global commitment by focussing on water. Many people in India are particularly affected by the lack of access to clean water and sanitation. In addition, the precarious situation of the sanitary facilities in schools here often means that girls do not go to school. NORMA Group is represented here with its production site in Pune in the western Indian state of Maharashtra. NORMA Group has therefore decided to get involved in providing a functioning water supply to schools in the rural environment of Pune.
NORMA Clean Water Project Launched in India
In 2013, the CR management committee introduced the non-profit project NORMA Clean Water together with their colleagues at NORMA in Pune. The non-profit organisation PLAN International was convinced to act as a project partner. It has far-reaching experience in the implementation of so-called WASH projects (WASH: Water – Sanitation – Hygiene) and has already built up a network of local partners for project implementation in India.
Together with the project partners on site, we have formulated the goal of enabling the 15,000 pupils and teachers at 50 schools near Pune to have access to safe drinking water and functioning sanitary facilities from 2014 to 2017. We have thus set up a complex programme which initially includes numerous structural measures. In addition, we want to achieve changes in people's behaviour and establish structures so that positive effects can be stabilised.
Successes Confirm the Project PlanIn order to achieve these goals of NORMA Clean Water, the needs of the project schools were first determined accurately. Since then, specific construction measures have been carried out here, depending on the needs. These can be divided into three project phases: installation of doors for the toilets to complete construction of sanitary facilities and installation of functioning fresh water pipes. Especially for many of the girls here, the improved structural situation and the construction of incinerators for sanitary products have already improved their experience of attending school.
Moreover, it is important to raise awareness of hygiene issues in a targeted manner. As part of the education effort, posters were designed and hung up near the sanitary facilities. Furthermore, NORMA Clean Water established clubs for the pupils at 46 of the 50 schools. Its members contribute their knowledge about hygiene to other pupils, but also to their families. Moreover, they assume responsibility for maintaining the newly built sanitary facilities.
Activity days were also held at the Indian schools to accompany the project. In these writing and painting competitions, the children got to deal intensively with the importance of water in their environment and were sensitized specifically and trained on this important topic.
4,800 pupils in 16 schools had already benefitted from the construction of sanitation and drinking water systems by the end of 2015.
Interim balance on NORMA Clean Water
“We as NORMA Group wanted to find a partner for this challenging project who is familiar with development programmes in India and who brings along experience on implementing water and infrastructure projects.”
Marion Mitchell, Group CR Officer, NORMA Group
“Water, hygiene and sanitation are critical components of our aid projects in India. For this reason, we are very grateful to NORMA Group for its support in the Pune district.”
Bhagyashri Dengle, Executive Director, Plan India
“We set ourselves the goal of improving the learning conditions in schools from the very beginning through our commitment. But we also want to turn the children into ambassadors in their families and their environment – on the conscious use of water as a natural resource and how important it is for people.”
Daphne Recker, Group CR Officer, NORMA Group
“We girls had a problem with hygiene. But this has now been solved by installing an incinerator. We don’t miss school anymore and don’t have to shy away from the sanitary facilities any longer. Before we had to decide whether we would go to school or not when we were menstruating.”
A pupil from Pune
“Thanks to the NORMA Clean Water project, sanitary facilities have been set up at our school and the toilets and drinking water facilities have been renovated. The health of our children has thus greatly improved.”
Ashok Sarode, Headmaster of Hirabi Gopalrao Gaikwad High School, Kasari
NORMA Clean Water with a Positive Outlook
The interim results at the end of 2015 show that we are on track to achieving the objectives of this comprehensive project. Long-term changes in behaviour and structures are the main focus of the final project phase of NORMA Clean Water, which will continue until 2017. Here, it is particularly important to involve the administration, the heads of the schools, parent representatives and student clubs in these activities.
We will continue to accompany NORMA Clean Water in India even after these measures are successfully completed in 2017. The success of NORMA Clean Water reinforces our intention to work for selected development programmes that are related to the strategic topics that NORMA Group focusses on. We pay particular attention to having a role model function and to the replicability of the measures we take. GRI [G4-SO1]