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MoU signed between UNICEF and IDBI bank to provide clean water, sanitation to school children
UNICEF and IDBI Bank have jointly signed a landmark Rs. 2.7 crore (approx. 450,000 USD) partnership. The MoU, signed by Chief General Manager, IDBI Bank, R.V. Iyer and UNICEF India Representative, Louis-Georges Arsenault, under Bank's Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activity will directly impact the lives of over 80,000 children in 400 schools and Anganwadi centres in UP and Maharashtra.
The program will provide improved access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) for school-going children, under the "Model WASH in Schools" initiative in these two states.

"The Model WASH in Schools programme demonstrates the effectiveness of integrating critical behaviours such as hand washing, into the world's largest Mid-Day meals program. Evidence shows that access to functional and separate toilets for girls and boys can contribute to a better learning environment, reducing absenteeism and drop-out rates of children in schools, especially girls," said Louis-Georges Arsenault, UNICEF India Representative.

Commenting on the landmark initiative, M.S. Raghavan, Chairman and Managing Director, IDBI Bank said, "IDBI Bank, as a responsible and socially conscientious PSU Bank, has entered into this partnership with UNICEF and the Government of India to support their vision of ensuring that the 110 million children enrolled in 1.4 million elementary schools across India have access to safe drinking water and functional toilets along with imbibing hygienic practices with special emphasis on hand washing."

He added, "The initiative is also in alignment with the Swachh Bharat Mission, recently launched by the Government of India, under which we are further supporting the construction of 300 gender segregated toilets in schools across India, primarily in rural areas, towards addressing sanitation issues."

Highlighting the role of corporates in supporting child-friendly education in schools, Sue Coates, Chief of WASH, UNICEF India, said, "The partnership is of special significance against the backdrop of Prime Minister, Narendra Modi's recent appeal to corporates to focus on building toilets in schools, especially for girls."

The partnership will encourage schools to implement higher standards of WASH-in-School facilities and the Hygiene Education programme in a child-friendly environment. An evaluation system will be established to monitor the progress in the two states and key learnings will be used to replicate the model across the country.

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