Clean Water for Schools projects address appalling water and sanitation conditions in east African primary schools in an effort to create healthy and safe learning environments where students will thrive.
Throughout eastern Africa many national governments are adopting a policy of free Universal Primary Education (UPE) in recognition of the importance of education in supporting local poverty reduction efforts. As a consequence, school enrollment has skyrocketed and governments are left struggling to train enough teachers and build new schools to keep up with the demand.
Unfortunately, the great importance of providing clean water, basic sanitation and hygiene education at schools has been almost entirely overlooked. However, without such facilities and training, schools risk becoming places that actually cause sickness for both students and teachers.
Hundreds of thousands of school-aged children suffer from water- and sanitation-related diseases such as skin and eye infections, diarrhoeal diseases, and intestinal parasites which contribute to malnutrition and often hamper both physical and mental development, making learning difficult. Two million children succumb to diarrhoeal diseases worldwide each year.
Dirty and unhygienic school environments also discourage students, particularly young girls, from attending their classes, and the best teachers are less willing to work at schools that don’t offer these services, This prevents children from getting an education that could help their families and communities break the pervasive cycle of poverty.
Clean water, basic sanitation and hygiene education are essential to fostering healthy development and educational achievement in children!
WaterCan has officially launched Phase III of its successful Clean Water for Schools program. By 2012 over 37,000 students and teachers will be living better, healthier lives through access to new school facilities such as rain water harvesting tanks, sanitary latrine blocks and health promotion materials.