Educational institutions play a critical role in securing a child’s future by ensuring a safe and clean learning environment. This also includes inculcating hygiene behaviours that children take forward to their families and communities.

With an increasing number of children enrolling in schools, the need for educational institutions to provide a water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) secure learning environment and hygiene behaviour is essential.

Promoting WASH services and behaviours in schools confers several benefits in terms of increased school enrolment, attendance and retention, greater gender equity (in access to education and menstrual hygiene needs), and improved educational and health outcomes. Additionally, students can serve as powerful agents of change, adopting hygiene behaviours themselves and encouraging their families and communities to do the same.

WaterAid and WASH in Schools

Given the pivotal role that schools can play in promoting educational and health outcomes among children, our vision is of a world where every child in every school has access to adequate, functional, inclusive, and sustainable and quality water, sanitation and hygiene services.

In our recent attempts to ensure WASH secure schools, we have initiated the construction of Rainwater Harvesting models in the school premises to catch every drop and make sure that water is available throughout the year.

  • We streamline the process of school development plan and make WASH as an integral part of the same. There is a strong focus is on engaging with and empowering mandated institutions like School Management Committee and further federating these institutions to address larger issues of advocacy.
  • At government-run residential schools, we aim to build appropriate and inclusive facilities for clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene, as well as establish robust operation and maintenance systems.
  • We also intend to build WASH secure schools with strong engagement and collaboration with the Department of Education. The intervention is focussed towards building hygiene curriculum in schools, capacity building of teachers, strengthening School Management Committees and WASH planning process with a focus on operation and maintenance.
  • We help build community level models around clean water and decent toilets. Strong community cadres, like Basti Vikas Manch, are a key strength of the programme.
  • We also facilitate and promote community institutions, like Mohalla Samiti, to advocate for and ensure clean water and decent toilets to urban communities. We also work closely with the local municipality and provide technical support for faecal sludge management.
  • We have demonstrated innovations in getting water, sanitation, and hygiene services for the unauthorised slums in Ujjain and Bhopal. The focus is on the homeless and migrants from among the urban poor.
  • In Delhi, community cadres have been actively involved in ensuring that clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene are available to their communities.
  • Citizen monitoring is being strengthened in three cities, namely Bhopal, Ujjain and Hyderabad.
  • A GIS-based mapping for water, sanitation, and hygiene infrastructure in slums in Lucknow was taken up as a process of mobilising existing databases so that the city government can use the updated data in their planning.

Our approach

WASH in Schools is a part of our core interventions for integrated approach to clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene, with a key focus on institutions and households. Our approach primarily includes –

  • Creating child friendly and inclusive facilities for children in terms of clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene.
  • Strengthening of mandated institutions, such as school management committees, school development plan, and operation and maintenance.
  • Engaging with students who are a part of WASH clubs in schools.
  • Initiate hygiene and behaviour change with a key focus on menstrual hygiene management.
  • Engagement and technical support to education department on capacity building, hygiene promotion and inclusion of WASH indicators.

Key impact

Building on from our previous work on developing training modules for students and teachers, programme interventions aim to demonstrate hygiene education in identified schools. We also address the gaps in WASH infrastructure and promote inclusive designs and menstrual hygiene facilities.

Technical assistance to district administration and education department to integrate operation and maintenance of water, sanitation and hygiene structures in the district plans. There are also plans to scale up the School WASH and teachers’ training modules developed in other intervention districts.

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