There was no Formal WASH in Schools program until the early 2000s. Water and sanitation facilities were provided to the schools along with other school infrastructures. In partnership with Public Health Engineering Division and Comprehensive School Health Program of the Ministry of Education, UNICEF started supporting institutional water supply and sanitation since early 2000s.While Comprehensive School Health Program of the Ministry of Education is the coordinating agency for WASH in Schools, PHED (Public Health Engineering Division) provides technical support in service delivery of construction of water supply and sanitation facilities.
The School Planning and Building Division provides technical and funding support to school infrastructures including water and sanitation facilities, mostly in the lower secondary, middle secondary and higher secondary schools. Construction of WATSAN is implemented by the respective District Education and Engineering Offices of the District Administration Office. UNICEF, Comprehensive School Program and PHED supports construction of WATSAN facilities in the community and primary schools, but hygiene promotion is undertaken for all through the school health coordinators. In 2010, the Royal Government of Bhutan and UNICEF signed an MoU to co-finance annually construction of water and sanitation facilities in 20 and 30 schools respectively.
UNICEF also collaborates with the Religion and Health Project of the Central Monastic Body to support provision of water and sanitation facilities in the religious schools in the country.
UNICEF is the only development partner supporting WASH in Schools programme in Bhutan.
There are no structured guide or tool kits, aside from training about 120 school health coordinators every year on the implementation of key hygiene behaviors for school children in the country. There are about 603 schools in the country, including the 56 extended classrooms. A draft WASH in Schools manual for health coordinators has been prepared.
There are no national standards for WASH in Schools, however in providing WATSAN facilities, indicators of 1 toilet compartment for every 40 boys and 1 toilet compartment for 25 girls is used.
There is no formal mechanism for collecting information to monitor WASH in Schools, however the process of including WASH in the Educational Management Information System (EMIS) has been initiated and by 2012, WASH will be monitored as part of the EMIS.
Due to lack of data and information on WASH in Schools, in the year 2009 and 2011, a process was initiated to undertake a Baseline Assessment of water and sanitation facilities in the schools.
Although 97% of the schools had toilet facilities, 73% of the schools had adequate toilet for boys and 32% of the schools had adequate toilets for girls. Also about 52% of the toilets in the schools are pit toilets.
94% of the schools had access to improved water source. The government standard for water supply is 1 tap stand with a flow rate of 0.1 liters/second for every 50 students and only 65% of schools meet the official standards for pupils with access to water.
There is no official standard on hand washing with regard to access to hand washing place and provision of soap. However, ever since Global Hand Washing Day was initiated, and even through regular capacity- building of Health Coordinators, schools make hand washing places such as tippy taps and other forms of portable water. Schools also promote access to soap.Global Handwashing Day was first celebrated in 2008, and every year all schools in the country are reached with awareness raising on hand washing with soap.