WHY WASH MATTERS
Schoolchildren without decent toilets and washing facilities are more likely to be absent from school. This disproportionately impacts girls during their periods but results in poor educational outcomes for all.
WSUP’s school programmes improve water, sanitation and hygiene in primary schools located in some of the most vulnerable urban communities across Africa and South Asia. We work with school leaders to install or refurbish toilet and wash blocks, ensuring they are fitted with facilities for menstruating girls as well as disabled students. Wastewater from the washing facilities is often diverted to irrigate vegetable gardens, supporting students and teachers to grow food.
Importantly, we also always make sure there’s a sustainable plan in place to ensure that the school’s WASH facilities are well-maintained so hygiene standards don’t slip.
As well as building school WASH blocks themselves, WSUP works with local and national government departments to develop standards and policies which lead to better services for all schools in the area.
Primary school MAHAMASINA EST, Madagascar
“Thanks to the new infrastructure, children wash their hands with soap and water.”
MAHAMASINA EST, a primary school in Antananarivo, is an example of the wide impact of WSUP’s programmes in Madagascar’s education system. From new toilets and water stations to hygiene campaigns for students and staff, WSUP’s actions to improve water and sanitation conditions in schools, in several countries, have been both holistic and life-changing.
Mavoniaina Ranaivosaona, the school’s Principal, says the new facilities built as part of WSUP’s intervention have led to significant improvement in the conditions offered to their 400 students. “Thanks to the new infrastructure, children wash their hands with soap and water,” she says. “They use clean showers and toilets and believe the school’s infrastructure is different from what they see elsewhere and at home.”
“The facilities are very good,” says one of the students, Sedera Sedrampitiavana. “They make me want to always be clean.” Perhaps even more importantly, better conditions have a positive impact on children’s enthusiasm about going to school every day, which he confirms. “We don’t see toilets like this elsewhere, it makes us want to stay clean and want to come to school.”
MAHAMASINA EST, however, has gone further than simply enjoying better water and sanitation facilities and education around hygiene and health. It has applied the improved conditions to food production, using the new water sources for the cultivation of vegetables in its garden, as part of an overall environmental concern.
“Circular economy has also been highlighted in the WSUP project, which we believe is very necessary to preserve the environment and natural resources, such as water, in the face of climate change,” says Ms Ranaivosaona. Filtering water for reuse, repurposing waste through a composting site, recycling materials, and producing vegetables in the garden have all been part of this initiative, made possible by access to clean water.