Enabling Policy Environment for Wash in Schools

In 2010 the Parliament passed the Education Act of 2010 which recognized the impotance of child-friendly facilities in schools. The Ministry of Education and Training has adopted the Child- Friendly Schools Initiative as a major component of its WASH in schools program. The Ministry of Education and Training has specific designs for sanitation facilities in primary schools to ensure acceptable standards are maintained in schools. The Education Facilities Unit of the Ministry of Education and Training ensures adherence to these standards.

There are no major donors for WASH in schools except for the recent Dutch emergency funding. However, because water and sanitation facilities such as latrines are integrated into any government funded construction plan of new schools or schools’ upgrading through new classrooms, donors such as JICA, Irish Aid and Fast Track Initiative, UNICEF, AfDB can be considered as donors in this sector. In many instances, the government is responsible for water supply and hygiene components.

Quality and Coverage of WASH in Schools Programming

Lesotho WISIn most schools, especially primary schools, VIP design is used which has no hand washing facilities. However, in some 16 primary schools, latrines constructed during the 2007 drought emergency response had hand washing facilities attached to the latrines. The challenge with these facilities was how to maintain a constant supply of clean water . Some schools have either hand pumps or standpipes, but these are not easily accessible for hand washing since they are not near the latrines. The current design, however, is not effective because some pupils cannot properly access it. Some schools have a very innovative provisions for hand washing facilities: buckets with holes on the bottom are hanged on a stand near a latrine and buckets full of water are provided. So pupils pour water into the hanging bucket and then wash hands as the water sips through. Soap is provided and it is normally placed in some position near the buckets of water.
The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare is intending to start a program of installing hand-washing facilities in schools. There is a need to have running water for hand washing instead of buckets. There is also a need to have hand washing facilities right at the sanitation facilities to encourage hand hygiene.

Hygiene awareness and education:

Health education is part of hygiene education curriculum. Some teachers encourage some hygiene practices and practice them themselves, however, it is doubtful that all teachers practice good hygiene. Data is not available on this issue.

There is a need for teachers to have in-service training and be provided with necessary materials on health and hygiene. IEC materials are distributed by MOH to schools and communities. In the districts there are competitions on health cities and within the WASH program there are interventions like school competitions. More involvement is needed by schools in celebrating sanitation, health and hygiene related global and national days. More initiative is needed from central government to accelerate this.

Operations and maintenance:

Operations and maintenance is the responsibility of the schools once the facilities have been provided. Operations and maintenance are, however, lacking in schools especially post-free primary education. It is however different in secondary schools since they charge school fees.
It is the responsibilities of both Education Inspectors using Child-Friendly Schools Inspection indicators and Health inspectors to push schools to make them proactive with maintenance. Lack of properly maintained toilet facilities has been blamed on lack of funds due to unpaied student fees. The maintenance cost is however subsidized through other sources.


In rural areas, the community takes the responsibility of emptying the full latrines and burying the sludge in the bush during the winter vacation when children are not at school. The Ministry of Education and Training provides 10 cubicles (to cater for students and teachers sanitation needs) in each school – but this is doubled if population is high. Sometimes this is not done.
The EMIS for the Ministry of Education and Training does not show data for WASH.

Organizations Working in Wash in Schools

Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)

African Development Bank (AfDB)

Irish Aid

Fast Track Initiative