There is a National Plan of Action for WASH in Schools. The School Health Sector within the Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MoEHE) has a three-year plan for investments in Governmental schools infrastructure (concrete component), as well as a hygiene component (soft component).
There is a national budget allocation for WASH in Schools programming. MoEHE gives $2,000 USD/each school, and $20 USD/each student in 1st grade for the Hygiene Kit (includes a bar of hand soap, a tooth brush, a tube of toothpaste, and towels), as well as for the school maintenance and water supply for the schools which are not connected to the water network. Each school considers/spends 10-15% of their income/funds for maintenance works of the sanitation units, providing water and for hygiene activities.
The Ministry of Education is the lead agency for implementation of WASH in Schools programming.
UNICEF and Civil Volunteer Group (CVG), International Code Council (ICC), Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW) and OXFAM are partners that assist in the implementation of WASH in Schools programming.
UNICEF has started rehabilitation and construction of Sanitation Units in 2009 in Opt schools. Rehabilitation and construction work has increased the access to safe water and sanitation for 99 Schools by 2010 within WASH in- Schools. UNICEF is working to improve WASH facilities in 55 schools in 2011. WASH in schools component also includes hygiene promotion and awareness including Global Hand Washing Day Celebration in coordination with the School Health Sector in MoEHE, hygiene kits distribution, hygiene monitoring and Knowledge, Practices, and Attitude (KAP) survey.
The School Health sector within the Ministry of Education and Higher Education has WASH in Schools guides/toolkits. Hygiene training manuals are also used for conducting training at the school level for school environmental club and directorate level for field health coordinator. Hygiene promotion is in 7th to 10th grade curriculum.
In Opt, UNICEF has worked with MoEHE on a School Management Information System (SMIS) which will have all information about the number of students and teachers, and the student’s performance. SMIS does not provide data on water and sanitation facilities in school. The Health sector within MoEHE has files with data about water and sanitation facilities in each school, as well as the number of teachers and students. So, as part of the UNICEF WASH program we are now working on the KAP survey in schools for behaviour change and of course will have questions about the number of existing toilets, drinking water fountains, septic tanks and etc. to identify the condition of water and sanitation facilities in schools and how it affects the student’s health and performance. This will become a management information system maintained in MoEHE.
Standard guidelines are used in the 19 newly constructed sanitation units, drinking water fountain and septic tanks.
There are national standards for WASH in Schools. The government standard for pupil per latrine/toilet is 40 pupils to 1 latrine/toilet/urinal. The government standard for students per wash basin is 30 students to 1 wash basin. 70% of the schools meet these national standards. The government standard for provision of water (for drinking and hygiene) per pupil per day is 15 litres per pupil per day. 80% of schools meet the government standard for provision of water, but the supply of water is erratic.
The total number of governmental schools in Opt is 2,400 schools, 1,900 schools (79%) have access to sanitation facilities, but 50% of the schools do not have adequate sanitation facilities to meet the standard for pupils per toilet within the old existing sanitation units. The remaining 21% of the schools that do not have their own sanitation facilities use the facilities of nearby schools.
Only 70% of schools provide soap for hand washing at the beginning of the year but not sufficient quantities. The ministry depends on the support from UNICEF in Global Hand Washing Day.