In many countries throughout the world, schools have very poor sanitation environments:
Student learning how to clean a toilet
- They have no, or insufficient, water supply, sanitation and hand-washing facilities;
- If facilities are present, they are often not adapted to the needs of children, broken, dirty and unsafe.
Under these conditions, schools become unsafe places where diseases are transmitted, with mutually reinforcing negative impacts for the children, their families, the schools and overall development. Good health at school is essential for now and an investment for the future.
Hundreds of millions of school-age children are infected by parasites and flukes.
The infections and other sanitation related diseases are spread in schools
The diseases cause poor health and lead to, or reinforce, malnutrition
Poor health and malnutrition are important underlying factors for low school enrolment, high absenteeism, poor classroom performance and early dropout
The provision of safe water and sanitation facilities is a first step towards a healthy physical learning environment. However, the mere provision of facilities does not make them sustainable or ensure the desired impact. It is the use of the facilities - the related hygiene behaviours -of all people that provides health benefits. In schools, hygiene education aims to promote those practices that will help prevent water and sanitation-related diseases as well as inculcating healthy behaviours in the future generation of adults. Therefore the combination of facilities, correct behavioural practices and education are meant to have a positive impact on the health and hygiene conditions of the community as a whole, both now and in the future.
Source: IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre