WASH in Schools

Addressing improvements to water, sanitation, and hygiene education (WASH) in schools has been elevated to the global stage in recent years.  However, more often than not, these conversations have been missing a key element: the education sector.  Although the WASH and education sectors have different approaches, their end goals are the same: educating youth, keeping them healthy in a safe learning environment and creating productive members of society. Improving WASH (including deworming) services at schools helps improve access to quality education and increase economic potential for these and other reasons:

  • WASH in schools reduces absenteeism
  • Improving WASH improves cognitive and reading ability
  • WASH in schools improves girls' education
  • Investing in WASH in schools can lead to increases in income and economic growth through a more educated and healthier workforce.

Schools that teach their students about the importance of the three key practices: drinking safe water, using clean sanitation facilities, and washing hands with soap at critical times, and provide the simple enabling infrastructure, can become beacons of hygiene promotion in the communities they serve. Students from such “WASH-friendly” schools are champion promoters in their homes and can influence parents and siblings to adopt better hygiene practices.

The main WASHplus WASH in Schools activity is the SPLASH (Schools Promoting Learning Achievement through Sanitation and Hygiene) program, funded by USAID Zambia, SPLASH is working with Zambia’s Ministry of Education to bring clean drinking water, sanitation and hygiene education to primary schools in Eastern Province. Learn more about SPLASH.


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The information provided on this web site is not official U.S. Government information and does not represent the views or positions of the U.S. Agency for International Development or the U.S. Government.