Most of the schools in Sri Lanka neither have satisfactory water supply nor adequate sanitary installations. The existing sanitary facilities are often dilapidated; they are not separated according to sex and thus do not ensure privacy. Poor health and malnutrition are important underlying factors for low school enrolment, absenteeism, poor classroom performance, and early school dropouts. Good health and nutrition are not only essential inputs but also important outcomes of basic education of good quality. First, children must be healthy and well-nourished in order to fully participate in education and gain its maximum benefits. Second, education of good quality can lead to better health and nutrition outcomes for children.
All children need a sanitary and hygienic learning environment. However, the lack of sanitation and hygiene facilities in schools has an even stronger negative impact on girls than on boys. Girls need safe, clean, separate und private sanitation facilities in their schools. The child friendly bottom-up approach values the opinion of the end user of sanitary facilities. The school children who ultimately benefit from the improved facilities in schools are consulted with regard to the type of facility, its location, and the design and selection of colours etc. before it is implemented. This approach has a positive influence on the feeling of ownership, leading to a willingness to actively maintain the facilities. Children who participate in efforts to create a safer and more sanitary environment learn about health by doing.
This is an effective way to help young people to acquire the knowledge, attitudes, values and skills needed to adopt healthy lifestyles.Schools can reinforce health and hygiene messages and act as an example to both students and the wider community. This in turn can lead to a demand for similar facilities from the community. Children can serve as multipliers as they are very influential in affecting habitual changes in hygiene behaviour within the household.
In cooperation with the local authorities, 53 schools in the districts of Galle, Matara, Hambantota and Ampara have been chosen for the project. More than 16,000 school children will thus get access to child friendly water and sanitation facilities at school and will improve their hygiene practices.
|Duration:||September 2006 to 2009|
|Financing:||UNICEF, Malteser International|
|Partner:||Provincial Education Departments, Zonal Education Officers|