The National Education policy fully supports addressing the emerging trends and needs in school health, prevention education against HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases and environmental education to be infused in the curriculum. Some of the strategies which are stated in the policy that helps to address WASH in Schools are:
There is an established national structure for school health. There are school health focal persons at the national, regional and school levels. In addition, in the majority of the schools there is a school Health Club. Each school runs clubs dedicated to creating and maintaining a safe and healthy learning environment, influencing healthy living in the community and promoting relevant health information.
In Eritrea, WASH in Schools started in late 2000. In 2001, the Ministry of Health developed guidelines for sanitation, latrine designs and sanitation of water points in Eritrea. This document lists specific issues related to latrine construction in schools such as type of latrines, number of seats per users, social and management issues. With the support of UNICEF since 2007, WASH facilities were constructed in more than 40% of schools. According to the information in the implementation guideline for Child-Friendly Schools, 10% of schools have access to safe water source and 40%, have access to sanitation facilities.
Although the percentage of coverage in sanitation is 40%, the usage is very low. In most schools, the sanitation facilities are closed and students are forced to defecate in the open. In some schools facilities are not kept cleaned resulting in students becoming discouraged with using the facilities. Clearly, the hardware component is available in a number of schools, while the software component is missing or very limited.
UNICEF supported the development of Environmental Education Materials for elementary schools. These materials are supplementary materials to equip children with necessary knowledge and skills on environment, health and WASH. Five books in total were developed. Three of the five books have key messages on WASH, while the remaining two books are more for WASH. Accompanying these books are extra teaching resources such as: posters, picture cards, as well as a toolkit of objects for students to use in the activities. Examples of these objects are: magnifying glasses, thermometers, water testing kits etc.