In 2010, the government approved the National WASH policy for Afghanistan with the aim of providing WASH facilities in 100% of schools by 2015. The Ministry of Education (MoE), Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD) and Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), along with UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO), also signed the key document “Call to Action for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in all Schools”. The Ministry of Education is the lead agency in overseeing the implementation of WASH in Schools with the involvement of MRRD, whereby MoE is responsible for all WASH in new schools and software in existing schools, with MRRD implementing hardware in existing schools.
The adoption of the “Call to Action” by the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has brought increased attention to school WASH needs. WASH is recognized by the government as an important intervention required for achieving educational goals.
Japan, Finland, Italy and Sweden are currently the major donor countries for WASH in Schools. The Government of Afghanistan, UNICEF, Japanese Emergency NGO (JEN) and Oxfam are key partners for WASH in Schools.
Since 2002, UNICEF has supported the development of resource materials to promote hygiene education, and piloted the materials in target schools. The “Call to Action” incorporates advocacy and implementation guidelines. The plan was published as a combined effort by the MoE, MoPH, MRRD, UNICEF and WHO. The “Call to Action” includes guidelines, checklists, roles and responsibilities, a minimum package of intervention, and a suggested implementation process, for which nationwide training is being conducted with the aim of being nationally accepted as a standard tool across Afghanistan.
In 2011, an evaluation of the UNICEF WASH program (including WASH in Schools) was planned. In addition, an evaluation of latrine construction and hand washing has been undertaken to gain a better understanding of WASH in Schools.
Since 2008, UNICEF, in collaboration with the MoE and MRRD, has developed designs for construction of WASH facilities namely school EcoSan latrines, urinals, incinerators and wash rooms.
The Educational Management Information System (EMIS) for Afghanistan, managed by MoE, is functioning; however, data could be strengthened in many cases. UNICEF will work with MoE throughout 2011 to improve WASH in Schools data with the EMIS system. The most recent analysis of data indicates that separate sanitary toilet coverage in schools is 46%, availability of safe drinking water in schools is 48%, and dedicated hand washing facilities is 12%.