WASH & Learn

Today, 2.3 billion people around the world lack access to adequate sanitation and 1.8 billion people use an unsafe drinking water source. 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.


continue to objectives

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.
continue to approach

The ‘WASH and Learn!’ programme will integrate community and school WASH projects in three neighbouring countries in East Africa: Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. Simavi will implement this programme together with six local NGO partners, each with specific features and challenges: CABDA in Kenya, UFUNDIKO and TDFT in Tanzania and JESE, HEWASA, and EMESCO in Uganda.

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.

Learning and knowledge sharing is at the heart of the WASH & Learn Programme. By pooling three countries and six local partners, Simavi can offer specific learning and sharing sessions on (for example) the results of small business development pilots that can be assessed, improved and scaled out. Each country will have a specific area of expertise that will be shared with the other countries for linking and learning processes. Partners will exchange expertise and learnings at planning, knowledge sharing and evaluation level, as well as at an interpersonal level.

These exchanges will be used to monitor what partners are doing, improve the application of the sustainability tools and approaches, as well as identifying novel ways of programme implementation that will result in sustainable outcomes.

The learning focus within the programme is based on the following five learning themes:

  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 – for pre-project execution, mid-project operation and post project management to increase sustainability.
  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.
  4. School Health clubs – to encourage other students and teachers within the school to apply appropriate WASH behaviour.
  5. Water as a business – encouraging local partners to focus on new ways of managing water supply systems besides the traditional community management model.
    The FIETS principles are applied to all these activities to achieve sustainable change.
continue to result

During the 2016 inception phase the local partners developed their projects, carried out a baseline study and worked on the technical details for the proposed improvements to the WASH services..

The programme is being implemented as we speak. The local partners are working with the selected schools to construct WASH facilities, but also to create awareness about the importance of water, sanitation and hygiene and how hygienic behaviour is good for your health.

By the end of 2018, an end-line evaluation will be done to evaluate the results of the programme. In 2019 we will present the results of the programme here.

Read more here.

Situation Approach Result

Programme information

  • Simavi Budget

    € 1.89 million

  • Overal Budget

    € 1.89 million

  • 3 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.

  • Target groups

    School pupils and people from the surrounding communities.

  • Implementing partners

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

  • 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).

  • 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.

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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