The year 2020 brought about a global rise in awareness about hygiene & health. We at earthworks had the opportunity to work alongside Several NGOs and Government agencies, one of which was Sanitation First . Founded in the UK in 1997, the organization initially focused on Eco-toilets and installed its first ever composting toilet in an India school in 2005, which is functional till this very day. Sanitation first India headed by dynamic Chief Executive Ms. Padmapriya TS and we met through Nisha Kesavan who manages their data analysis, social reporting & fundraising through impact stories. In June 2020 they carried out several educational campaigns on period safety marking World Menstrual Health Day 2020 and gave away sustainable hygiene kits to female school students & health care workers. It contained Anti-microbial Safepad (re-usable sanitary napkins), SuperTowel & 2 re-usable masks packed in a cotton bag.
Sanitation First’s holistic approach towards hygiene and thoughtful implementation of their service makes them stand apart. Not only do they carefully identify the requirements of the school children's hygiene needs, but they also pay attention to limitations & access to vital conveniences. Despite the Government & NGOs’ efforts to hand out hygienic products such as cloth pads, there is still a dent in access for women in rural areas. Young women also need a place to change and dispose of sanitary products, without proper facilities such as clean girls’ washrooms, educational and social spaces become hugely inaccessible to adolescent girls. A major part of Sanitation First’s Schools Programme is helping young women by providing them with private areas and washrooms where they are able to change their sanitary products in private. They also build incinerators in all of their schools, so that girls are able to quickly and easily dispose of sanitary towels.
When the pandemic hit in 2020 hygiene was in focus and since schools were closed due to the lock-down, Sanitation First extended their support to female health care workers by offering them super towels – highly absorbent anti-bacterial towels charged with negative ions that disinfect, this is almost as efficient as washing hands and was a boon to these over-worked health care professionals.
2 years since, the charity still continues to do commendable job by building eco-toilets, wash care, menstrual health care awareness programs and maternity care facilities across Tamil Nadu-India. You can follow their journey and lend your support at