Water, sanitation and hygiene

Our 2017 to 2020 goal: Long-lasting access to and use of safe WASH facilities for 35,000 people

Global challenge

Every year two million people die because of unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene. Children and young people living in rural communities are particularly affected. Access to safe water and sanitation is essential to the realisation of all other human rights. But nearly a third of the world’s population lack access to adequate sanitation and roughly 660 million do not have access to safe water. Solving this problem, coupled with good hygiene practice, is crucial to reducing disease and poverty.

Challenge in Tanzania

Less than half the population have access to safe drinking water and as little as 16% have access to adequate sanitation facilities. Awareness of the importance of  hygiene practices is limited. School children are particularly exposed to the effects of unsafe water, hygiene and sanitation, with 84% of schools lacking functional hand washing facilities and only 1% providing their pupils with soap.

Raleigh Tanzania focuses on working in rural, harder to reach communities where the level of need is more pronounced. Our programmes reflect the fact that women, girls and young people are disproportionally affected, as they carry out most of the unpaid labour associated with WASH in households and communities. This has a huge impact on their health, education and ability to earn money. A key focus of our work focuses on schools and their communities.

Project: Youth-led Sanitation & Hygiene (YoSSH)

Raleigh Tanzania works in the regions of Morogoro and Dodoma to deliver the YoSSH project alongside the district councils of Kilombero, Mvomero and Kongwa. We work to improve sanitation and hygiene behaviours in primary schools using UNICEF’s SWASH methodology.

Raleigh’s SWASH approach is appropriate to the context in Tanzania. As well as keeping pupils safer from water and faeces-borne diseases, safe school sanitation and hygiene improves cognitive function and attention, reduces days missed from school, enables more time to be spent learning and increases children’s dignity and safety. Where sufficient resource has been made available for SWASH, UNICEF has reported increased attendance as well as significantly higher exam pass rates; this is attributed to improved sanitation and fewer illnesses among pupils. Our recent experience of implementing this methodology underpin this project’s outcomes to promote positive sanitation and hygiene behaviour change and governance in primary schools.

Since our work began in Tanzania we have developed sanitation infrastructure in over 38 schools, supporting children to establish SWASH clubs to maintain sanitation facilities and champion effective hygiene practices. In 2016 95% of community beneficiaries reported that they had noticed an increased understanding of positive health and hygiene practices amongst children involved in SWASH clubs and their families.

The infrastructure element of this project includes supporting each school to meet the full specification as prescribed by the Government of Tanzania’s National School WASH Guidelines. In each school, separate sanitations bocks are constructed for boys, girls and teachers, ensuring the necessary pupil: drophole ratio is achieved. Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) rooms are included, and all blocks are fully accessible for young people with disabilities. MHM rooms ensure girls have private washrooms allowing them privacy and dignity. The blocks include handwashing facilities, which are furnished with supplies of basic items such as soap to support healthy hygiene behaviours, i.e. handwashing at critical times. Latrine construction benefits primary pupils of all ages, particularly girls aged 10 and over for whom separate washrooms and latrines are essential for menstrual hygiene management as they enter puberty. Separate latrines for teachers (one for males and one for females) are also included.

To ensure sustainability of the facilities for generations to come, Raleigh work to build the capacity of School Management Committees (SMCs) so that they can develop and implement new Operations & Management (O&M) plans to govern the maintenance of school sanitation facilities. The SMCs are linked with other stakeholders such as parents, Village Executive Officers, Village Chairs, Health Teachers and SWASH Coordinators to create a better skilled and informed network for sanitation and hygiene in the local community.

Baseline studies and formative research is conducted at project inception, enabling staff and volunteers to ascertain specific requirements for sanitation block construction, to gain insight into levels of WASH knowledge, develop culturally appropriate methodologies for encouraging WASH-related behaviour change and provide the foundation for ongoing monitoring and longer-term evaluation.