WASH in Schools

Every year, 443 million school days are lost due to water and sanitation related diseases. Countless schools worldwide suffer from lack of access to safe drinking water, sanitation and facilities for hand washing with soap. Good WASH in schools is essential to ensure a learning environment that enables children to reach their full mental and physical potential.

WASH United believes that children are key agents of change. As children spend most of their time in schools, this is the place where they should learn and be motivated to perform good WASH behaviour: washing their hands with soap at critical times, always using toilets properly and drinking safe water.

In order to promote WASH knowledge among school children and to ultimately facilitate life­-saving behavior change, WASH United has developed an innovative football and game­-based curriculum. Not just teaching facts, but engaging children in an interactive and participatory way, our WASH in Schools trainings enable children to generate their own insights through fun and play. The curriculum includes hugely popular games such as “World Toilet Cup” (motto: “every poo needs a loo”), “Blue Hand Game”, “Hand washing Challenge” and the TippyTap competition. At the moment, we are developing activities around menstrual hygiene management to specifically address the most neglected WASH issues in the schools context.

After completing the training, children join the WASH United Club. As club members, they take WASH United’s ‘3 Finger Pledge’. By doing so, children commit to 1) always use a toilet when available, 2) always wash hands with soap before eating and after using the toilet and 3) get three friends and family members to take the pledge.

Since 2010, WASH United and partners have trained almost 100.000 children and 900 teachers in more than 400 schools and youth football clubs in Sub­-Saharan Africa and India - such as Dennis Wanyoike (11 years), Jehovah Jireh Primary School, Mailisaba: “I remember the day I became a member of WASH United and will never forget it. I decided to put the poster of Drogba in my room to remind me of my commitment to the WASH United values. I believe we all have the right to safe water for drinking and sanitation – regardless of our background.”