With the coronavirus fear looming large all over the world, a social robot will be nudging your son and daughter to wash hands before eating. Sounds surreal?
Well, they are going to be a reality in Delhi's 19 co-educational schools run by the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee.
A robot named Pepe will be used to nudge kids in DSGMC school to give fresh approach to hygiene. The Pepe robots each costing a nominal Rs 7,000 will be mounted on the wall above a hand washing station near washrooms to inspire around 20,000 children studying in these schools to wash their hands properly before eating or after playing.
Pepe, the robot is developed by researchers from the University of Glasgow in Scotland in collaboration with the Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham University in India. Pepe will interact with children as they pass by sink and encourage them to practise proper handwashing .
This is being done to promote hygiene practices including hand washing with soap among children and strengthen access to water, sanitation and hygiene in all schools run by DSGMC, said Manjinder Singh Sirsa, the President of of the Sikh body.
He said that DSGMC will survey each school's needs and physical layout and then construct and install the best options for each school so as it could facilitate maximum students.
Sirsa said that entire process will be completed very soon on priority basis. What's more? Schoolkids below 10 years drawn from marginal section of society which is most affected by poor sanitation and hygiene will be especially targeted under this programme.
An exclusive mobile App will also be developed for monitoring the success of programme. School teachers will take photos of hygiene practices adopted by children on the campus and post it on the mobile application regularly, a move through which the DSGMC will be able to keep a check to students hygiene behaviours: preventing diseases and maintaining health.
This, Sirsa insists, will not only contribute to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, but also cultivate a habit of handwashing and cleanliness among school students and thus preventing diseases like diarrhoea or respiratory infections among school students, and keeping COVID-19 as far off as possible