by Sarah Bramley, WASHplus Project, CARE
Photo credit: PATH
On World Water Day, a day on which people around the world joined together to recognize the importance of safe drinking water, adequate sanitation and hygiene education (WASH), I spent the morning thinking about the number of children who do not have access to these basic necessities at school. Therese Dooley, Senior WASH Advisor for UNICEF once said, “Currently, investment [in schools] can be quite low, and sometimes WASH in schools falls between the cracks…we just need to make sure there is funding allocated and that it does get priority.”
Addressing improvements to water and sanitation in schools has been elevated on the global stage in the last several years. However, more often than not, theseconversations have been missing a key component: key stakeholders in the education sector. The creation of silos between WASH and education has been occurring for years due to funding. All too often grants are awarded with so many guidelines they can only be used for either improvements in WASH or for educational development, which make program collaboration difficult. There are often stipulations that educational funding can’t be used to improve water and sanitation services at school.
Nepal may be justifying a US$ 15 million investment in separate school toilets for girls for the wrong reasons suggests an IRIN news article.
The government says separate toilet would:
reduce the number of girls missing classes or dropping out because of the lack of private changing facilities during menstrual cycles – despite a recent study suggesting menstruation has very little to do with why girls attend school less regularly than boys.
While improved school sanitation may improve health, Emily Oster, one of the principal authors of a study in Nepal of the impact of menstruation on school attendance said:
“As far as we know, there is no quantitative evidence of the impact of separate toilets on girl’s schooling… what we can say based on our paper is that menstruation has only a very tiny impact on schooling for girls.”
This view was supported by Bed Prasad Kaju, headmaster of Sanjewani Model High School, a state school in Dhulikhel Municipality, 20km north of Kathmandu:
“The girl students have bigger problems than menstruation affecting their studies or class attendance, like helping their parents in household chores”. [...] He said his school did not have enough toilets but more than 50 percent of his 1,100 students were girls. They attended regularly and their achievements matched those of the boys, he added.
Most of Nepal’s 28,000 state secondary schools lack girls’ toilets and in the few that do have them at least 250 girls are forced to use one latrine, said education specialist Helen Sherpa from international NGO World Education.
The new government scheme plans to install separate girls’ toilets in 5,500 secondary schools by the end of 2011, and in all secondary schools by 2014-15, said Khagaraj Baral, director of planning at the Department of Education.
Related web site: WASH in Schools
Source: IRIN, 18 Ma 2011
The government is all set to construct girl-friendly toilets in 5500 community schools throughout the country to enroll more girl students in the schools. The government has allocated Rs. 1.1 billion [US$ 15 million] for the purpose. According to Department of Education, the drop out rate of girl students has increased due to lack of girl-friendly toilet in schools.
The school enrollment rate of girl students is 87 percent in primary level and 84 percent in secondary level. However, the drop out rate is 7 percent in primary level and 11 percent in secondary level (class 10).
“Various researches and studies have shown that dearth of girl friendly toilet in school premises is one of the reasons for girl students’ dropping out of schools. Therefore, the government has given priority to toilet construction in schools,” the Department of Education states.
“Menstruating girl students often remain absent due to lack of separate toilets for them,” said Gita Kharel, Principal, Ratna Rajya School Baneshwor, adding, “The government is doing a good job of constructing girl-friendly toilets this year.” “There is need of such toilets in the districts outside the Kathmandu Valley,” she added.
Deputy Director and chief of Gender Equity Section at Department of Education Ganesh Prasad Poudel told that the government is allocating Rs. 200,000 [US$ 2,730) to each community school for constructing a toilet. “In the absence of separate toilets for girls and boys, many girl students do not attend school regularly. Therefore, the government has given priority to construction of girl-friendly toilet,” said Poudel, adding, “We will construct necessary infrastructures so that girl students can change their sanitary pads during their menstruation period and maintain personal hygiene.” There are 32,000 community schools throughout the country.
Related web site: WASH in Schools
Source: Kantipur / NGO Forum, 31 Jan 2011
Feb 7, 2011 – Kathmandu, Nepal: USAID recently began two new projects directly with two local Nepali organizations to improve access to water, sanitation, and hygiene for more than 65,000 people in Nepal’s mid- and far-western region, a US Embassy press release said Monday.
The first project – School-Led Safe Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Improvement project – (SWASTHA) will benefit approximately 45,000 people in the mid-west. The second – Safe Practices on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene project (Safe-WASH) – will improve access to safe drinking water and sanitation facility and provide training on environmental sanitation, personal hygiene, irrigation and kitchen gardening to 27,000 rural people in the far-west, according to the release.
Jan 27, 2011 – TORONTO – A teacher demonstrating the importance of handwashing can go a long way toward keeping students healthy by instilling good habits, says the author of a study on preventing school-based gastrointestinal outbreaks.
Prof. Marilyn Lee, who teaches in Ryerson University’s School of Occupational and Public Health, says that lack of handwashing and improper food handling are two of the major reasons for the spread of the uncomfortable symptoms associated with gastrointestinal upsets.
In the confined space of a classroom, gastrointestinal illnesses can spread quickly, Lee said in an interview Thursday from Guelph, Ont.
Lee is the lead author of A Review of Gastrointestinal Outbreaks in Schools: Effective Infection Control Interventions. The study, in the December 2010 issue of the Journal of School Health, deals with food preparation in schools from kindergarten through university/college.
MUMBAI: Senior India cricketer Sachin Tendulkar has joined hands with NDTV and Coca Cola to improve sanitation in rural India through “Support My School” campaign which was launched on Monday.
“I cannot digest that because of no proper toilets, girls drop out of schools. Education is very important for every child and I am extremely happy and privileged to be part of this campaign. Everyone should support this cause,” Tendulkar, who launched the campaign as its brand ambassador, said.
“There are a lot of experienced people to take this campaign forward but it boils down to financial contribution without which things cannot be achieved,” he added.
Two Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) loans will help bring drinking water to 630,000 people, upgrade water and sanitation facilities in 20,000 schools, and reduce water-borne illnesses among 1.3 million students.
The first loan, for US$ 350 million, will finance the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene in Basic Education Program, that combines improvements in the physical infrastructure of 20,000 schools with a comprehensive programme of hygiene education and infrastructure maintenance. The program gives priority to schools in municipalities with high epidemiological risk indicators and high enrollment levels. By 2014, the programme aims to achieve a a 30 percent reduction in the prevalence of diarrheal diseases in participating schools, and a drop in illness-related absenteeism is expected to drop from 17.9 per cent to 12 per cent. The number of schools that are not connected to a water system will be reduced from 7,966 to 1,980 properties.
Nov. 30, 2010 – To address the lack of sanitation facilities in girls’ schools, FICCI Ladies Organisation (FLO) has tied up with Sulabh International to provide toilets in schools. Launching the programme on Monday, FLO said it took up the initiative after surveys and government reports established the link between girls dropping out of schools due to lack of proper sanitation facilities in government as well as private schools.
As part of the project, two schools in Bhiwandi and one in Dahanu will be provided with the toilet facilities. “We are inviting applications from schools and organisations working in the sanitation sector for setting up toilets for girls in schools,” said Bela Rajan, chairperson, FLO.
FLO will fund the project, while Sulabh International Social Service Organisation will provide the infrastructure and know-how for constructing these toilets.
October 2010 – 68 photos of environmental health in Senegal. If you have comments or questions, contact Jay Graham.
Jay Graham and the Chef de village, M. Diouf
Nov 2010 – 49 photos of water, sanitation and hygiene in Zambian schools. If you have comments or questions, contact Jay Graham.
Commonly used handwashing system at schools. The only complaint of this system is that it is occasionally stolen from schools.