WASH: Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Developing Countries
Clean drinking water and access to a toilet and hand washing facilities are fundamental rights of every human being. While providing universal access to WASH technologies is difficult to achieve, we strive to ensure that the students in our sphere of influence have all the benefits of functioning WASH technologies and systems.
School WASH systems have the unique feature of providing benefits to multiple generations of students, as our high-quality WASH program ensures that the WASH systems function for the longterm. Additionally, with our WASH education program, students also bring their new WASH knowledge back to their homes and communities. In sum, WASH at schools is a high-impact project that improves the quality of education children receive, brings multiple health benefits, and gives children essential knowledge and experience that will serve them for a lifetime.
Depending on the number of students and the local circumstances, we equip schools with the WASH technologies and systems described below. The required budgets for schools with 50 to 500 pupils are usually between €7,000 and €20,000.
If you, your family, your club, or your company are looking for a way to help a lot of disadvantaged children quickly, effectively, and sustainably, funding a school WASH project is undoubtedly the way to go.
WASH In Detail
In many schools, toilet facilities are either unavailable or useless due to lack of water and disrepair.
If toilet facilities are available, we renovate them and connect them to our water system. If there are no toilets at all, we build them.
It is vital for us that there are separate toilet facilities for boys and girls and that they are handicapped accessible. In Cambodia, the toilets are primarily latrines or simply holes in the ground. Since a disabled child cannot use these, we install at least one European-style toilet and construct a wheelchair-accessible pathway.
Costs: € 150 to € 1,000
In schools, many children may want to wash their hands simultaneously. Therefore, we set up hand washing stations in front of the toilets and directly in front of the school entrance. These facilities do not have a fixed size or design; they are built based on the number of pupils and the local conditions. Since the schools are often located in communities where clean water is a rare commodity, we must protect all WASH technologies and systems. In this context, we advise that water for the handwashing stations is turned off at night to protect this valuable resource for the children.
Costs: € 150 to € 1,200
Rainwater Harvesting Systems
There is enough clean rainwater in Cambodia and Laos during the monsoon (June-November) to supply a school’s water needs for an entire school year. But the water is often contaminated by agricultural chemicals and human feces from open defecation.
Since most schools have a well-preserved roof without asbestos, we use a rooftop rainwater harvesting system. We install a rainwater gutter and connect it to one or more sealed water cisterns to store the rainwater, thus protecting it from contamination by local pollutants. The rainwater storage capacity required differs for each school.
Costs: € 200 to € 3,000
We use a variety of water filters, depending on the water quality available at each school. Our water filters range from biological sand filters to ceramic filters to newer, more technologically savvy filters. Whichever water filter is selected, it is crucial that the people using the filters can operate and maintain them. Water testing, both with field kits and at urban labs, is done regularly to ensure the children drink clean and safe water.
Costs: € 75 to € 2,600
Training in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene
Before we install a WASH system at a school, we evaluate the school director, teachers, and the community the school is in to gauge their commitment to making the WASH project successful. We agree to implement the project only if there is consensus amongst this group to complete the comprehensive WASH training we provide and pass on this knowledge and skills to their students. Having the students learn the WASH essentials is crucial to the success of the WASH at Schools program.
We provide the following WASH training:
- Proper use and maintenance of WASH technologies and systems
- Basic knowledge of water-borne illnesses, their paths of transmission and their prevention
- Creating and managing a garbage collection and disposal system
- Establish a rule that all students must wash their hands when arriving at school and after using the toilet
- Establish a rule that prohibits the burning of plastic waste in front of the school
Costs: € 400 to € 2,400
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