Published: 05th October 2021
AP to revamp 56,703 toilets, distribute pads to over 10 lakh adolescent girls to help them return to school
Launched on October 5, the Swechha programme is directed towards menstrual hygiene and awareness of adolescent female students studying in schools and colleges
Question: What keeps adolescent girls from continuing their school education, in India?
Top answer: Menstruation and the lack of toilets.
The Swechha programme, launched today by the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, effectively takes care of both. Especially in the context of COVID, where the dropout rates are certainly a concern, this comes as a much welcome move to encourage girl students to get back to school for good.
Under the Swechha programme, as many as 120 sanitary napkins will be provided to each girl annually, which makes it ten per month, free-of-cost — this would cover over 10 lakh adolescent girls studying in Classes VII to XII. Plus, these sanitary napkins will be sourced from trusted brands like Niine and Whisper at the cost of Rs 32 crore.
With this promise, the CM also announced that, under the Nadu-Nedu programme, toilets at 56,703 schools and hostels across the state will be revamped and an uninterrupted running water supply will be added too. "In the first phase, 15,715 schools have been renovated and all the remaining schools will be completed by 2023," said the Chief Minister during the launch of the Swechha programme today. As far as the maintenance of the said toilet goes, a special fund under the supervision of the headmaster and parents committee has been assured. An appointed female teacher/lecturer, who will work as a nodal officer for each school, will ensure that the scheme is carried out as smoothly as possible.
To further the cause of menstrual hygiene awareness, and perhaps environment as well, the Government of Andhra Pradesh, through the same nodal officer aforementioned, has also ensured that adolescent girls are taught about the methods of safe and hygienic disposal of the used sanitary napkins. Adding to this, the CM informed that there are 6,417 incinerators across the state, installed under the Clean Andhra Pradesh (CLAP) programme, that will practically help with the sanitary napkins disposal.
Low-cost and branded sanitary napkins will also be available at the YSR Cheyutha stores for the one crore woman living in urban and rural areas.