Safe Water for School Children in India

Globally, 2.5 million kids miss school each day because of illnesses from unsafe water[1]

In India, 95% of schools have drinking water facilities (1), but the water is not safe to drink.

Microbiological contamination of drinking water is a serious problem in India, especially in our program location of Rajasthan.  Only 46% of schools  in Rajasthan have drinking water facilities on the school premis (2), one of the lowest figures in all of India. And even these 46% of schools often have unsafe water.

In May of 2016, Vestergaard will initiate it’s programming in India with a distribution of 100 LifeStraw Community filters, reaching over 8,000 school children.

Your gift helps us rapidly scale this program to other schools in this region.

We don’t just drop off filters: These are comprehensive, sustainable 5-year programs with routine follow-up and data collection that also includes hygiene and sanitation education



– All programs we implement provide a minimum of 3 years of support (usually 5) to the schools and their population

– Included in this support is follow-up visits and education, as well as free repairs and maintenance for the filters

– Stocks of spare parts are held in local warehousing facilities; all local staff are trained in detailed filter maintenance


– Program staff follow-up on every school at least once per term to reinforce education messages and collect data about filter use, maintenance, school population, and impact.

– All data is collected via mobile phones and recorded in real time, so program implementers can respond immediately to issues on the ground

– All filters have unique individual ID barcodes that are scanned and tracked over time


– Our education curriculum has been piloted and tailored over time to be suited for local Indian schools. All education, training and installation of filters is done on-site at the school in their local environment and is provided in the most appropriate local language

– We teach comprehensive safe water treatment including practices for the home and technologies other than our own to ensure the students we work with maximize their access to safe water at all times and in all locations

– We teach common waterborne diseases that are easily identifiable by the school children in India

– We teach comprehensive hygiene and sanitation education and provide soap for hand-washing and informational posters for the schools.

– We identify “LifeStraw Prefects” that are outstanding leaders in their schools to champion the use and maintenance of the LifeStraws and to reinforce teaching messages throughout the school year

– We work with existing health and sanitation clubs to reinforce their impact at the school

– Program staff provide follow-up education sessions throughout the school year

Focus on Women and Girls

-In India, only 13% of adult males collect water(2)

– School girls often bear the brunt of the responsibility within their school for fetching and treating water throughout the day and performing other chores, much like they do at home

– Our program ensures the LifeStraw Prefects that are chosen are equally represented by both genders and responsibilities are shared amongst the children

– We teach that access to safe water is everyone’s job, and try to break down gender stereotypes related to the collection, treatment and use of water.

– We also make sure all the school staff is engaged in the process and fully trained on filter maintenance so that among the teachers, the job is also shared.


  1. Water Environment and Sanitation. UNICEF India. [Online] April 11, 2016. Sixty seven per cent of Indian households do not treat their drinking wa–Environment-and-Sanitation#sthash.zntDtHsv.dpuf.
  2. Clean India: Clean Schools A Handbook. s.l. : The Government of India, 2014.
[1] United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). (2006). Human Development Report 2006, Beyond Scarcity: Power, poverty and the glob­al water crisis.


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