STORY PREVIEW

2018

Automatic flush system

Anjuman Matric/teach for India

Tamil Nadu

MENTOR

Sowmya L Shreya KS Priyanka G

STUDENTS

Hidayathullah,

Al Qamar Bin Shameen,

N Ibrahim,

Mohammed Rafi,

Step 1 FEEL

We study in a boarding school. Our main challenge was to find ways to keep our hostel and school clean in order to avoid the risk of communicable diseases. Four of us thought that unclean toilets were a major problem in our school and hostel. Hence, we did a survey to find out if our friends also felt the same. When majority of the students (200 students) felt that toilets could be maintained cleaner, we decided to find a solution for this problem.

We chose to work on maintaining the cleanliness of the toilets because 1. The risk of spreading diseases due to unclean toilets were high. 2. It is a common problem not only in our school, but also in many public places. 3. We did a survey amongst our hostel-mates and they too found the problem to be of high concern. 4. The ladies who cleaned the toilets were dis-heartened to keep cleaning the toilets continuously. This made us feel really sad and hence we wanted to help them.

The main people affected by this problem were Students - Our primary concern was that unclean toilets left the toilets unusable. It also left the toilets with a strong stench, leaving the entire area intolerable. Cleaning ladies - It made their jobs much more difficult because of the number of times they had to clean the rest rooms. They were quite sad that children did not care about a simple act of flushing the toilet after use. Teachers - With a strong stench spread across the corridor, it was difficult for any passer-by to get to the classroom.

Step 2 IMAGINE

We came up with 1. Monitoring the students using the restrooms during recess time. 2. Appointing monitors in every classroom and have reward/consequence for following (or not following) toilet etiquettes. 3. Innovative product of low cost that could flush the toilet automatically every time the toilet is used.

We chose both Solution 2 and 3. We reasoned that solution 1 would work only during recess and we would not be able to monitor students during class hours. We also reasoned that solution 1 would not create awareness on the need for clean toilets amongst young children. We decided to create a low cost innovative product that could flush toilets automatically as well as create awareness amongst our fellow students. We reasoned that an low cost innovative product will be impactful not only in our school but also in all public rest rooms. We reasoned that awareness on toilet etiquettes need to be taught to young children especially for those who stay in hostel and hence decided to opt for this solution. Together, we believed that both the solutions would create a larger impact in our surroundings.

Step 3DO

We ideated about an automatic flush system that would ensure the toilet is flushed everytime after use. We wanted to build the flush system ourselves with low cost household materials. We used bubble top can and a syphon to build a flush tank. To make it automatic, we tied one of the rope to the syphon and the other end to the door. Hence, we made sure that every time someone opens the door, the syphon automatically lifts and flushes. We then presented our idea to our fellow school mates. We also made charts to explain young children about right way to use the toilet. We have appointed monitors in the every class, who would remind the ways to use the toilet to their classmates.

We have designed our auto-flush tank in such a way that it cleans the entire floor of the toilet. This was to ensure that floor is clean even if young children found it difficult to use the commode entirely. The cleaning ladies are the first people whom we asked after implementation of the project. They were quite happy with the way the entire toilet floor was getting cleaned. After the prototype got installed in the toilet, the other students from the primary school were so excited to see the working of it. Our friends have encouraged us by promising us to maintain toilet cleanliness. They also would like to participate in such projects. When we presented it in an innovation platform where students from other schools were also present, they were interested in knowing about our idea and would like to implement it in their schools as well.

200

We interviewed the cleaning ladies before and after the project. One of the cleaning ladies Mrs Uma "I am very happy about this work. It has made our lives easier in cleaning the toilets." One of the students in third grade classroom "I really like this project. I too want to work on such projects helping people around me"

One of the main challenges was to find materials to work on this project. We wanted to make use of easily available, low cost material for this project because we thought use of such materials would make it easier for others to implement this design. Second challenge was to get to know how to use the materials to fix pipes and other plumbing activities. We asked a plumber, who comes to our school to teach us how to use these materials and we fixed the pipes under his supervision. Third challenge was presentation of the project. Since we are new to presentation work, we had challenges in talking about idea in public. To overcome this challenge, our mentors helped us practise our presentation work. Through this project, we learnt how important it is to keep notes of all the work and how important it is to develop presentational skills.

MORE THAN 30 DAYS

Clean water and sanitation

Our project mainly focuses on keeping the toilets clean. We believe that there are many parts where having a low cost automatic flush system would improve the quality of the toilets in common area. Hence, we believe our global goal for this project is sanitation.

Step 4 SHARE

We shared the working of our model at our school assembly, so that all students are aware of the challenge that we face in our school. We also went to every classroom and conducted awareness session by explaining responsible ways of using the toilet. At the community level, we shared our project idea with other students and teachers at an innovation platform hosted by Teach for India. The students from other schools were quite excited about the project since it is a common problem in many public places.

More than 100

Currently, we have installed our model in one toilet in our school. We would like to observe the usage and improve the design based on user feedback and install in both in school and hostel. We plan to share our design across Teach for India classrooms so that it can be implemented across schools. We would continue the awareness sessions on toilet hygiene and etiquettes in our school.