WASH & Learn

Today, 2.1 billion people lack access to safely managed drinking water services and 4.5 billion people lack safely managed sanitation services. Without access to safe water and sanitation, diseases spread fast: more than 1,375 people die every day from diarrhoeal diseases alone.

Access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services isn’t only important in the home: to successfully improve basic health, WASH services and education must be extended to schools and other public places. However, the standard of most WASH services and education in schools lags far behind WASH at household level: 31% of schools in developing countries currently have no access to an improved water source. Lack of access to WASH facilities in schools contributes to absenteeism and pupil dropout rates, especially amongst girls, both of which have an influence on the general learning environment.

Without increased, proper access to, and use of, WASH facilities at schools and at home, the health situation of a community will not improve adequately. And without more WASH facilities, existing facilities at schools or in the community/household will be overused and overburdened, resulting in their reduced lifespan.

The physical and emotional wellbeing of girls and women in East Africa is hindered by poor WASH services and WASH education in schools. High drop-out rates and poor performance is limiting girls and women to pursue their rights to a healthy lives and reinforces the dependency on men and traditional gender norms, including the risk on gender based violence and oppression.

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Overall objective

The WASH & Learn programme will use an integrated WASH approach to work on water supply, sanitation and hygiene behaviour improvements in schools and the surrounding communities. Increasing access to, and use, of WASH facilities will structurally improve basic health, school attendance and the academic performance of children in the selected areas, as well as structurally improving basic health and empowering communities to continue to improve their own situation.

Specific objectives

  1. Improve access and use of WASH facilities for 19,380 pupils at school
  2. Improve sustainable access and use of WASH facilities for 26,470 people from the communities surrounding the schools
  3. Improve capacity of local NGOs in: implementing WASH programmes in schools and community; business skills; and technical skills
  4. Improve capacity and involvement of local entrepreneurs in providing WASH services to schools and households/communities.

Specific objectives WASH & Learn 2.0:

  1. Improved access and use of WASH facilities for 5.000 pupils at seven schools
  2. Improved sustainable access and use of WASH facilities for 24.000 people from the communities surrounding the schools
  3. Improved capacity of local NGOs on: implementing WASH programmes in schools and community; and business model development.
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The WASH & Learn 2.0 programme is integrating community and school WASH projects in two adjacent countries in East Africa: Uganda and Tanzania. Together with three local NGO partners with specific features and learning objectives, Simavi will implement this programme, building on the experience of the WASH & Learn 1.0 programme that has been implemented from 2016-2018.

The programme will focus on schools. As early adaptors, children learn more easily than adults and are quicker to adjust their behaviour. At the same time, the communities around selected schools will be targeted to provide WASH facilities at home and at school, and ensure the community does not overuse school WASH facilities.

Simavi’s activities

Simavi will implement an integrated WASH approach for working on water supply, sanitation and hygiene behaviour improvements. We will work with communities on creating a positive enabling environment in which every stakeholder (including the private sector) is active, and we will ensure that people use the WASH services properly. To maximise reach, the programme will work both in schools and the surrounding communities. Our starting point will be analysing the local context and the current capacities and experiences of our local partners. Specific country and partner approaches will be developed from these starting points so we will be able to reach the overall objectives.

From the WASH & Learn 1.0 programme, learnings will be taken along in the WASH & Learn 2.0 programme:

  1. Cost Recovery Planning – bringing WASH investment stakeholders into an agreement on how to operate and manage WASH facilities in the schools based on the FIETS sustainability principles.
  2. Risks assessment and mitigation – to facilitate the identification of potential risks to the sustainable use of WASH facilities in schools. This can help in awareness raising of potential risks, but also in identifying potential mitigation measures to avoid these risks.
  3. Menstrual hygiene management – to ensure girls wellbeing (academic performance, health, acceptability) in schools, proper menstrual waste management, menstrual hygiene and better facility usage during menstruation is part of the programme.
  4. School Health Clubs – to encourage other students and teachers within the school to apply appropriate WASH behaviour. School Health Clubs are furthermore being used as link between the schools and surrounding communities.
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WASH & Learn 1.0 (2016-2018)
After three years implementation, the WASH and Learn programme has worked in 40 schools and 85 surrounding communities on improving access to water, sanitation and hygiene facilities. With the interventions, 27.590 pupils & teachers now have access to water, sanitation and hygiene facilities in the 40 schools, and 20.317 community members have access to water facilities in the communities and sanitation facilities at home. Furthermore, 35.040 people were reached with hygiene awareness activities in the communities.

WASH & Learn 2.0 (2019)
Three local NGO partners have worked in seven schools and their surrounding communities in Uganda and Tanzania in 2019 under the WASH & Learn 2.0 programme. In all seven schools water, sanitation and hygiene facilities have been constructed, alongside awareness raising activities around the importance of WASH as well as menstrual hygiene management. This programme is building on the lessons of the WASH & Learn 1.0 programme and focus has been on sustainability tools to ensure schools are aware and have the knowledge to work on operation and maintenance of WASH facilities.

Situation Approach Result

Programme information

  • Simavi Budget

    € 1.89 million (WASH & Learn 1.0) €283.268 (WASH & Learn 2.0)

  • Overal Budget

    € 2.173.268

  • 4 years

  • Location

    Kenya: Nambale and Teso South Sub-Counties, Busia County, Western Kenya;
    Uganda: Kabarole District, Bunyangabu County, Kisomoro and Rwimi Sub-Counties, Kibaale District, Bungangaize West County, Rwenzori Region, Western Uganda;
    Tanzania: Nzega, Uyui and Sikonge districts, Tabora Region and Kongwa District in Dodoma Region.

    WASH & Learn 2.0:
    Uganda: Bunyangabu District in Rwenzori Region
    Tanzania: Kongwa District in Dodoma Region

  • Target groups

    School pupils and people from the surrounding communities.

    WASH & Learn 2.0:
    The programme will work in 7 schools and their surrounding communities, targeting 5.000 pupils of these 7 primary schools and 24.000 beneficiaries in the surrounding communities

  • Implementing partners

    Kenya: CABDA, Maji Milele
    Tanzania: TDFT, UFUNDIKO
    Support partners: Witteveen en Bos, IRC WASH

    WASH & Learn 2.0:
    Uganda: Caritas Fort Portal – HEWASA and JESE
    Tanzania: UFUNDIKO

  • Donors

    Walking for Water 2016-2018
    Rotary District 1570
    Aqua for All (will add 80% to the collected money from Walking for Water and Rotary District 1570).

    Wash & Learn 2.0:
    Walking for Water 2019 & Rotary District 1570
    Made Blue
    Viva con Agua
    The Good Roll

  • Role of Simavi

    Simavi is the lead implementing partner and is responsible for the programme. We will contract local partners as well as partners in the Netherlands.

    Wash & Learn 2.0:
    This is a Simavi programme, where Simavi is supporting the three implementing partners. The programme will build on the WASH & Learn 1.0 Programme that was implemented from 2016-2018.

Do you want to know more about WASH & Learn?

Please contact our colleague Sandra van Soelen.

+31 (0)88 313 15 84

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