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We Can't Do It Alone , We Need Your Support
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Friday, 25 March 2016

Sanitation challenge: Turning commitment into reality

Making information flow; strengthening partnerships

Good information on sanitation and hygiene is essential for making the right decisions. Getting the most useful information to flow from those who produce it to the people who use it is the challenge. There are several types of relevant information: there is technical information for practitioners/professionals, there is right to know/public participation information (that includes the rights and responsibilities of citizens under legislation and regulations) and there is user data collected for monitoring purposes. The Internet and e-mail are rapidly increasing access to information throughout the world, even in many poor or remote communities. To complement these new electronic methods for disseminating information, broadcast media and printed materials are still needed to reach the most inaccessible audiences. Traditional approaches to informing people, such as drama competitions and songs, have been used in many settings and have been shown to be effective. Addressing the sanitation and hygiene crisis requires a global strategy that builds partnerships between national governments, external support agencies, NGOs, communities and households and the private sector. Increased sharing of information resources between agencies and organisations through partnerships will help to reduce duplicative efforts, to learn from past mistakes and to consolidate effective approaches. Partnerships are vital for leveraging scarce resources

Getting sanitation and hygiene right

Effective sanitation and hygiene programmes need to combine interventions to change behaviour with the selection of the right technology. Changing behaviour requires culturally sensitive and appropriate health education. People need to understand, in terms meaningful to their lifestyles and existing belief systems, why better health depends on the adoption of hygiene practices such as hand-washing (after defecation, after handling babies’ faeces, and before cooking), on the use of latrines for safe disposal of faeces, and on safe storage and handling of drinking-water and food. Raising awareness of why sanitation and hygiene are important will often increase motivation to change harmful behaviours. Selecting the right sanitation technology is about having effective alternatives and making the right choice for the specific circumstances. Making the right choice of technology requires an assessment of the costs (both for building the facility and for operations and maintenance) and its effectiveness in a specific setting. For example, it is inappropriate to introduce piped sewage if there is no capacity to adequately treat the effluents. The use of conventional sewerage systems in extremely water-short regions may also be unsustainable.

What can we do?

National governments can ensure that hygiene promotion is funded alongside sanitation in a well-balanced programme. This may mean additional central government support for hygiene promotion and sanitation marketing. National governments can also support reviews of technical norms and standards, of planning regulations and of the health impacts associated with different options; fund research into appropriate technologies; and provide incentives for district/local governments to review their own policies and to innovate. Health education, especially concerning sanitation and hygiene, needs to be added to the national school curricula, and effective school sanitation strategies need to be developed.
District/local governments can provide funds for hygiene promotion and sanitation marketing; fund and support local entrepreneurs and public sector agencies that seek to develop new appropriate technologies; review and revise restrictive planning regulations and technical norms; and promote the use of appropriate sanitation facilities.
Communities and civil society can develop their own local technological solutions; make an effort to find ways of working with local technical agencies; be flexible when it comes to balancing local needs (getting the excreta out of the house) with community needs (protecting the communal environment); and participate in hygiene promotion and sanitation marketing campaigns.
Households can adopt good sanitation and hygiene practices; innovate, take action, talk with neighbours about solving local problems; and encourage local political representatives to support locally developed solutions.
Entrepreneurs can invest in research and development; carry out needs assessments and marketing research; find out what people are already using and develop better versions; and develop products and services that comply with national and local legislation and regulations.
International organisations can ensure that external funds for sanitation hardware are bundled with appropriate hygiene promotion and sanitation marketing activities; encourage governments to consider appropriate, cheaper or more effective sanitation technologies; finance local sanitation research; develop guidance and tools for facilitating good practice; disseminate information; and actively endorse the idea of flexible technical norms and standards.

We’re inspired by…

… the PHAST approach 
PHAST stands for participatory hygiene and sanitation transformation. It is an approach designed to promote hygiene behaviours, sanitation improvements and community management of water and sanitation facilities using specifically developed participatory techniques. The underlying basis for the PHAST approach is that no lasting change in people’s behaviour will occur without understanding and believing. To summarise the approach, specific participatory activities were developed for community groups to discover for themselves the faecal-oral contamination routes of disease. They then analyse their own hygiene behaviours in the light of this information and plan how to block the contamination routes.

Mobilizing financial resources

Improving access to sanitation and changing hygiene behaviours provide large benefits to all members of society that justify the preferential use of financial resources by individuals, households, communities, governments and external agencies to fund sanitation and hygiene interventions. For countries with poor coverage, the focus should be on increasing access. This can be leveraged by steering public funding towards stimulating demand for sanitation and promoting hygienic practices in schools as well as at the household level; financing public and school sanitation services; and delivering targeted subsidies where these can be demonstrated to be effective in increasing access.

picture credit : heeals
source :who

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Holi - A Festival of colors

The celebration of Holi is very ancient in its origin. And by its very origin, it celebrates an ultimate triumph of the 'good' over the 'evil'. While, a feast of colors associated with the Holi, is the face of this celebration, the original reason of celebrating Holi, lies in its soul. And this gives us the 'why' of this ancient festival. 

Literally "Holi" signifies "burning" in Indian language. But, how it came to be associated with 'burning', is a story. 

Holi is an ancient festival of India and was originally known as 'Holika'. The literal meaning of the word 'Holi' is 'burning'. There are various legends to explain the meaning of this word, most prominent of all is the legend associated with demon king Hiranyakashyap. 

Hiranyakashyap wanted everybody in his kingdom to worship only him but to his great disappointment, his son, Prahlad
 became an ardent devotee of Lord Naarayana. Hiaranyakashyap commanded his sister, Holika to enter a blazing fire with Prahlad in her lap. Holika had a boon whereby she could enter fire without any damage on herself. However, she was not aware that the boon worked only when she enters the fire alone. As a result she paid a price for her sinister desires, while Prahlad was saved by the grace of the god for his extreme devotion. The festival, therefore, celebrates the victory of good over evil and also the triumph of devotion. 

The festival of Holi is also associated with the enduring love between Lord Krishna (an incarnation of Vishnu) and Radha, and Krishna in general. According to legend, the young Krishna complained to his mother Yashoda about why Radha was so fair and he so dark. Yashoda advised him to apply colour on Radha's face and see how her complexion would change. Because of this associated with Krishna, Holi is extended over a longer period in Vrindavan and Mathura, two cities with which Krishna is closely affiliated.
Krishna's followers everywhere find special meaning in the joyous festival, as general frivolity is considered to be in imitation of Krishna's play with the gopis (wives and daughters of cowherds).

Holi Rituals and Customs

Holi is spread out over two days (it used to be five, and in some places it is longer). The entire holiday is associated with a loosening of social restrictions normally associated with caste, sex, status and age. Holi thus bridges social gaps and brings people together: employees and employers, men and women, rich and poor, young and old. Holi is also characterized by the loosening of social norms governing polite behavior and the resulting general atmosphere of licentious merrymaking and ribald language and behavior. A common saying heard during Holi is bura na mano, Holi hai ("don't feel offended, it's Holi").

On the evening of the first day of Holi, a public bonfire is held, commemorating the burning of Holika. Traditionally, Hindu boys spend the weeks prior to Holi combing the neighborhood for any waste wood they can find for the bonfire. The fire is lit sometime between 10 PM and midnight (at the rising of the moon), not generally in an orderly fashion. Everyone gathers in the street for the event, and the air rings with shouts, catcalls, curses and general mayhem. 

Play of Colors

Next day, is of course the main day of Holi celebrations. The day is called Dhuleti
and it is on this day that the actual play of colours take place. There is no tradition of holding puja and is meant for pure enjoyment.
The tradition of playing colours is particularly rampant in north India and even in that region, there can be no comparison to the Holi of Mathura and Vrindavan. In Maharashtra and Gujarat too Holi is celebrated with lot of enthusiasm and fun.

People take extreme delight in spraying colour water on each other with pichkaris or pouring buckets and buckets of it. Singing Bollywood Holi numbers and dancing on the beat of dholak is also a part of the tradition. Amidst all this activity people relish gujiya, mathri, malpuas and other traditional Holi delicacies with great joy.

Drinks, specially thandai laced with bhang is also an intrinsic part of the Holi festivity. Bhang helps to further enhance the spirit of the occasion but if taken in excess it might dampen it also. So caution should be taken while consuming it. 

Holi is also a festival of forgiveness and new starts, which ritually aims to generate harmony in the society.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

World Water Day -2016

World Water Day is held annually on March 22 as a means of focusing attention on the importance of fresh water and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. The occasion of World Water Day is also used to highlight required improvements for access to  WASH (water, sanitation, hygiene) facilities in developing countries  
 An international day to celebrate freshwater was recommended at the 1992 United Nation Conference on Environment And Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro .The United Nation General Assembly responded  by designation 22 March 1993 as the first World Water Day. The United General Assembly adopted resolution on 22 December 1992 and 22 March of each year was declared world day for water, To be observed starting in 1993 . In conformity with the recommendation of the United Nation Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED).
Additionally, a number of nongovernmental organizations promoting clean water and sustainable aquatic habitats have used World Water Day as a time to focus attention on the critical issues of our era. Events such as theatrical and musical celebrations, educational events, and campaigns to raise money for access to clean and affordable water are held worldwide on World Water Day, or on convenient dates close to March 22
World Water Day is an international observance and and an opportunity to learn more about water related issues be inspired to tell others and take action to make a difference .Earth year ,UN Water –the entity that coordinates the UN’s work on water and sanitation –sets a theme for World Water Day corresponding to a current or future challenge .The engagement campaign is coordinated by one or several of the UN-WATER Members with a related mandate .On this day stares were invited to devote the day ,as appropriate in the national context ,to concrete activities such as the promotion of public awareness through the production and dissemination of documentaries and the organization of conference ,round tables ,seminars and expositions related to the consecration and development of water resource and the implementation of the recommendation of agenda 21.
Theme Of World Water Day -2016 –
Theme of 2016 World Water Day is –Water and Jobs
(Better water Better Jobs)
Theme shows the correlation between water and jobs created either directly or indirectly by water sources on the globe .Today almost half of the world’s workers -1.5 billion people work in water related sectors and nearly all jobs depends on water and those that ensure its safe delivery .Yet the millions of people who work in water are often not recognized or protected by basic labor rights .How enough quantity and quality of water can change workers lives and livelihood and even transform societies and economies .
Some Facts
884 Million People In The World Lack Access To Safe Drinking Water.
More Than 840,000 People Die Each Year from Water Related Disease.
Almost Two In Three People Who Need Safe Drinking Water Survive On Less Than $2 A Day .
80% Of Sewages In Developing Countries Is Discharged, Untreated ,Polluting ,River And Lakes .
Water is essential to human health .The human body can last weeks without food ,but only days without water .Water is essential to our survival. Regular hand washing ,is the best way to remove germs and avoid getting sick and prevent the  spread of germs to others . Up to one trillion germs can live in one gram of poop . As for the human body on an average it is made of 50 -65% water .Babies have the highest percentage of water ,newborn are 78% water. Every day ,every person need access to water for drinking ,cooking and personal hygiene .Water is essential for sanitation facilities that do not compromise health or dignity .The world health organization recommend 7.5 liters per capita per day will meet the requirement of most people under most conditions . A higher quantity of about 20 liters per capita per day will take care of basic hygiene need and basic food hygiene.
Despite impressive gains made over the last decade,748 million people do not have access to an improved source of drinking water and 2.5 billion do not use an improved sanitation facility .Investment in water and sanitation services result in substantial economic gains. The return on investment of attaining universal access to improved sanitation has been estimated at 5.5 to 1, whereas for universal access of improved drinking water sources the ration is estimated to be 2 to 1 . To cover every person worldwide with safe water and sanitation is estimated to cost $107 billion a year over a five year period.
There is a need to shift towards environmentally sustainable economic policies that take account of the interconnection between ecological systems .One challenge is to maintain a beneficial mix between built and natural infrastructure and provision of their respective services.

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