Building a cleaner, greener school experience

Over 80% of public schools in Madagascar lack access to essential WASH services due to limited financing and inadequate infrastructure. Poor sanitation causes WASH-related illnesses, high absenteeism, with girls especially disadvantaged.

Since 2017, WSUP has increased access to climate resilient WASH facilities in 58 schools across 3 cities through the construction, rehabilitation or adaptation of school WASH infrastructures. This is helping to minimise the occurrence of school pupils going home during classes to use the toilet, and girls staying away from school during menstruation.

WSUP’s digital toolkit for school WASH infrastructure is used to design the school WASH blocks, ensuring they include separate toilets for boys and girls (including gender friendly considerations on privacy, dignity and convenience), appropriate features for Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM), and access for people living with disabilities.

Alongside the infrastructure, WSUP improves WASH and climate change practices by building knowledge, awareness and capacity on sustainable good WASH practices and environmental protection education, for students and school stakeholders. This includes teaching women and girls to make washable sanitary napkins made from recycled fabrics.

WSUP supports schools to integrate circular economy approaches to protect the environment through waste reduction, reuse, and recycling. For example, schools engage in solid waste sorting, and production of compost or greywater reuse for school gardens. Finance for operations and maintenance costs can then be raised through income generation activities such as “green gardens” with the sale of products from the shared garden space.

WSUP has also worked closely with the Ministry of Education to review and update the national “WASH Friendly Schools” initiative, which incentivises schools to ensure sustainable hygiene and WASH practices including MHM. To support schools to gain official recognition as WASH Friendly Schools, WSUP builds the capacity of stakeholders (teachers, parents, local leaders, communes) and local institutions to put in place operation and maintenance arrangements including financial planning for upkeep. We establish school WASH committees to monitor and maintain the facilities and sustain good hygiene practices – guaranteeing long-term sustainability.