Importance of WASH to education
Provision of WASH services in schools has a direct impact, not only on children’s health but also on their school attendance and educational performance. Preventing diarrhoea and parasitic infections that have the potential to make children sick can ensure they stay healthy and are not absent from school.
Schools should have child-friendly WASH services, meaning they should have improved sanitation with good handwashing facilities. It is particularly important that schools have separate latrine blocks for girls and boys. This is known to encourage girls to enrol in school and sustain attendance, which in turn enables them to achieve greater educational performance. As well as basic provision, the facilities should be convenient for older girls so they can take care of their personal hygiene during the menstrual cycle. The presence of good WASH facilities that are separate for girls and boys can be the factor that initiates parents to send their girl children to school.
For girl students, the WASH service away from school is also important. This is because in many areas of Ethiopia women and girls are responsible for fetching water for the family. Many water points are far away from villages, so girls may spend many hours collecting water which makes it difficult for them to attend school (Figure 1.4).