Considering the poor hygiene conditions prevailing in many schools in Mali, the political commitment to improve health in schools has become one of the priorities of the political agenda in recent years. To support this trend, in close collaboration with institutions from the Education, Health, Water Supply and Sanitation sectors, UNICEF has contributed to develop an operational framework with the formulation of the National Strategic Plan for the Promotion of WASH in Schools. In response to the urgent needs of Malian students in the area of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in schools and in order to improve their health and education outcomes, CARE Mali, Oxfam GB, Save the Children Federation, UNICEF and Water Aid have joined forces and developed a partnership to strategically scale-up WASH in Schools throughout the country. The development of this partnership has been designed within the framework of the Government of Mali’s WASH-related national strategies and priorities. This partnership is coordinated by UNICEF.
As a result, $16,000,000 USD has been allocated by Dubai Cares to the UNICEF-led partnership in order to roll-out an innovative and large scale WASH school program in Mali. As the agency in charge of coordinating this large scale program, UNICEF has been working in close collaboration to establish standardized approaches for both the software and hardware components of the program. This includes the setting up of the MEL framework, the design of standardized tools and methodologies for hygiene education and the organization of local governance (appropriate materials to promote behavior changes for improved hygiene practices are now available ensuring the coherence in the products and the results of the program), and the establishment of standardized designs for child-friendly WASH facilities.
Another large scale WASH in Schools program was designed and launched in Mali. With the support of the Danish Development Agency, this program targets 350 additional schools in the regions of Sikasso, Mopti and Koulikoro, and it is also developed under the coordination of UNICEF following the same principles and interventions designed through the Dubai Cares’ funded program. Its overall budget is around $5 million USD.
These programs can cover around 35% of most vulnerable existing schools in the country with comprehensive interventions including soft/hardware support and M&E to document impacts, failures and best practices.