Building capacity for tobacco-free schools in rural Maharashtra: the Salaam Mumbai model
More details
Hide details
Salaam Bombay Foundation, Tobacco Control & Advocacy, India
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A301
Download abstract book (PDF)

Background and challenges to implementation:
Tobacco is a significant public health risk faced by youth in rural India. In rural Maharashtra, up to 45.4% of youth use tobacco. India's tobacco control law, the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (2003) prohibits the sale of tobacco within 100 yards of school grounds. Still, sale of tobacco is commonly seen around schools across the state.

Intervention or response:
In 2008, Salaam Mumbai Foundation (SMF) began a tobacco-free schools initiative in rural Maharashtra. Awareness meetings were held with the Direct of State Education and District Education Officers to build motivation to promote the tobacco-free schools programme. District-level workshops were held with Master Trainers for the Education Ministry. Master Trainers included training on tobacco-free schools as part of their regular training curriculum. Once trained, teachers conducted tobacco control initiatives with students. SMF rewards schools for reaching levels of compliance with the 11 criteria created in accordance with an education board. Bronze-level awards are given to schools reaching 4 criteria, silver-level awards to schools reaching 8 criteria and Gold-level awards to school reaching all 11 criteria.

Results and lessons learnt:
Yavatmal district has 2,137 government run schools. In 2016-17 all these schools attained the tobacco free status by fulfilling all 11 criteria. Celebrating 31st December 2015 as 'Tobacco Free Life Resolution Day' 406,384 people at 2,109 Government run schools across Yavatmal took the oath for Tobacco Free Life. This has been recorded in the 'Limca book of Records' in 2016.

Conclusions and key recommendations:
Using the existing infrastructure, Maharashtra's rural teacher training programme has been a successful and efficient strategy to make schools in the state tobacco free. Using a graded system to reward schools provides an incentive for schools to expand compliance and serves as a useful tool for measuring increases in compliance over time. Maharashtra State Government recognized SMF's work and felicitated the organization with Mahatma Gandhi Vyasanmukti Award.