Children should be given the benefit of a good education in schools that provide child- friendly water and sanitation facilities.” – Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC)
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) are directly related to the health, well-being, education and opportunity for children and their families. While 70% of the earth is water less than 1% of that is available freshwater for human consumption. The quality of freshwater resources is threatened by pollution and climate change has impacted rainfall variability meaning that water access is not certain in many parts of the world. Without access to clean and local water, sanitation and hygiene, many children in developing countries become sick from water-related diseases and miss school. Further, girls’ sanitation needs are often not met and the gender education divide is furthered as adolescent girls may drop out or fall behind at school.
ECI’s WASH-related work incorporates life skills-based learning and action (inside and outside the classroom) to increase local capacity of children and adolescents to adapt to water, sanitation and hygiene conditions in their local community. WASH education in schools programs aims to ensure an enabling environment for children that is conducive to promoting children’s awareness, and knowledge, while leading to positive social change.
Earth Child Institute’s WASH-related interventions, include the following fundamental principles:
- Affirmation of the human right to water and sanitation
- Local action to improve child health and reduce prevalence of water-borne diseases
- Goal toward improving primary school attendance and secondary school retention of adolescent girls
- Consideration for social norms and attention to gender equality associated with water resource management, access to sanitation and hygiene education
ECI currently works in Ghana and Nigeria with our in country program managers and WASH facilitators to develop participatory tools and training for WASH in schools with children.