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Kinder sitzen hintereinander in Schulbänken
Burkina Faso

Hygiene starts on the toilet

Project Status Ongoing
Main sector
Water, Sanitation & Hygiene

At home or in the field, Amadou has no access to fresh drinking water or sanitation facilities. At his school, he can now refresh himself with clean water and wash his hands after going to the toilet. The “WASH in Schools” project makes this possible.

Clean water and hygiene as well as access to sanitation facilities are human rights. Both are indispensable for defeating hunger and poverty. However, more than 663 million people do not have access to clean water. 2.4 billion people – over one third of the world’s population – do not have adequate sanitation. Children need secure access to sanitation facilities and clean drinking water, especially at school. The Welthungerhilfe project “WASH at Schools” aims to change this by supporting the construction of sanitation facilities.

Hygienic school grounds protect students from diseases and allow them to regularly attend classes.
Hygienic school grounds protect students from diseases and allow them to regularly attend classes. © Phillip Hedemann

WASH in Burkina Faso

Thanks to a more humid climate, some regions in Burkina Faso have numerous watering holes. However, most of these are difficult for residents to reach of remote villages. In addition, only approximately 3% of people have access to a toilet. This increases health risks, with almost 70% of childhood illnesses linking back to insufficient sanitation.  

As a result, so-called health clubs are being established at schools and in 12 communities in addition to the sanitation facilities. Here, everyone can become accustomed to good handwashing practises early on. By project end, some 320,000 people will have access to a toilet and a greater awareness of good hygienic practises. This will improve the health of small children and students in particular, who suffer the most from precarious hygienic conditions. A hygienic school environment is especially important for children because they become sick less often and can attend classes regularly. This increases their prospects of a good and secure education.

WASH in Ethiopia

Borana lies in southern Ethiopia, on the border with Kenya. It is in the Oromia Region, which is renowned for its biodiversity and picturesque landscape; however, it also undergoes regular droughts, making the residents’ lives more difficult. The rural population has access to an average of only four litres of water per person per day. To put that into perspective, at least 20 litres per person per day are necessary to meet basic personal and food hygiene needs. Only one in three people have access to clean drinking water.

The availability of sanitation facilities is even poorer: Only 20% of people in Ethiopia have access to a toilet. 60% of all illnesses and 15% of deaths can be attributed to this shortage. It particularly affects children under five years of age, women and the elderly.

The topic of health is an important component of the WASH project in the schools. In the region of Borana, new toilets will be installed in ten schools, accompanied by so-called WASH clubs, in which students deal with issues of water and hygiene practises. Boys and girls will learn about opportunities to protect their environment with its valuable resources and how to impart this knowledge to others. New toilets make a significant difference for the girls in particular, offering them privacy from their schoolmates’ eyes.

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