UNICEF 360 WASH in Schools Advocacy
School environments have a major impact on children’s well-being, because they spend a
significant amount of time in and around their schools.
When a school lacks access to a basic water supply and sanitation facilities and its students have
poor hygiene habits, the incidence of major childhood illnesses among its students will increase.
This will adversely affect school children’s participation, lowering enrolment rates and increasing
absenteeism, poor classroom performance, and early school dropout. The lack of appropriate
facilities may discourage children from attending school. Girls who are menstruating, in particular,
would rather not go to school than have to deal with such a lack of privacy, and with appropriate
WASH facilities, gender can be addressed.
It will also decrease learning capacity as measured in educational performance, outcomes, and
productivity. In addition, the unsanitary conditions typical of many school toilets will send
children the wrong message about the importance of sanitation. Since many rural children do not
have toilets at home, this will be their ‘model’ for sanitation, which clearly will not be a very motivating one.