WASH in Schools Supports Healthier Schools and Healthier Children
Schooling conditions can greatly affect the health and wellbeing of school-aged children. In recent years, the global partnership WASH in Schools has been advocating for schools to provide safe and drinkable water, improved sanitation facilities, and hygiene education that creates healthy habits for a lifetime. WASH in schools is important for adolescent girls who often miss school due to conditions that make menstrual hygiene management difficult, which is detrimental to their education progress. More research is needed to estimate the broad benefits that improved access to water and sanitation has on absenteeism among girls, but it is clear that the ability to manage menstruation safely and in privacy significantly improves their quality of life and confidence. A recent qualitative study conducted by UNICEF in Yatra, India (Maharastra province) revealed successful approaches – including small group sessions, data collection, and visual aids – to breaking the silence and taboos around menstruation, hygiene management, and safe solutions to reuse and dispose of menstrual waste.