A major new water education project financed mainly by the German chemical giant BASF has been launched in Mangalore to help provide water education and safe drinking water for 25 schools and nearby communities under UN-HABITAT's Water for Asian Cities programme.
BASF's Social Foundation is contributing the lion's share of EUR 145,000 of the total USD 343,000 budget for the project to be run jointly with UN-HABITAT and the local implementing partner, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) which are providing the remainder.
Launched at a ceremony in Mangalore City on 10 May 2011, the officials said the project would boost access to safe drinking water for 25 selected schools and surrounding communities. It will also promote water, sanitation and hygiene education in schools, and establish a school-led community-based drinking water quality monitoring programme.
Under the quality monitoring component, the project will establish science laboratories in selected schools and build the capacity of resource teachers and students to support the Mangalore Municipal Corporation and overall community with the adoption of adequate measures to reduce water-borne diseases in the city.
A total of 5,000 students will be trained to analyse and monitor water quality. At the international level, the Project WET Foundation of the United States will provide additional training support on water education.
Prior to the launch event, a UN-HABITAT, BASF and TERI delegation visited selected school education and sanitation facilities and met with teachers, students and school administrators who expressed their willingness and commitment to participate in the project.
The official launch ceremony was attended by local political leaders, civic officials, key sector representatives, and project beneficiaries. Mr. Nalin Kumar Kateel, Member of Parliament presided as the Chief Guest at the event. Mr. Jain, Member of Legislative Assembly of Moodubidri; Mr. Praveen Anchan, Mayor of Mangalore; Dr. K.N. Vijaya Prakash, Commissioner, Mangalore City Corporation (MCC); Mr. Prasad Chandran, Chairman and Managing Director, BASF India Limited and Head, South Asia Region; Dr. Hartmut Unger, Head, BASF Social Foundation; Mr. Dzikus, Chief, Water and Sanitation Section II, UN-HABITAT; and Mr. Pronab Dasgupta, Senior Advisor and Director, TERI, were also present.
Speaking at the launch event, Mr. Andre Dzikus from UN-HABITAT said that "Value-based formal and informal educational initiatives are key to bringing about behavioral change among students regarding water use".
Dr. Unger expressed his happiness on the launch of this innovative project and added "We can certainly make a difference for the children and I am convinced that the Project will be a total success".