How water, sanitation and hygiene contribute to girls’ education in Tanzania

A safe and effective learning environment means providing access to drinking water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services in schools, especially when it comes to adolescent girls’ education.

UNESCO Dar es Salaam is supporting 40 primary schools and 20 secondary schools in four districts of Tanzania - Kasulu (Kigoma region), Sengerema (Mwanza region), Ngorongoro (Arusha region) and Mkoani (Pemba, Zanzibar) - to build toilets, handwashing facilities, changing rooms and water boreholes.

Poor access to WASH has been identified as one of the significant barriers preventing adolescent girls from completing their schooling. According to the Tanzania National School WASH Report (2018), only 25% of schools in Tanzania met the minimum government standard for learners per toilet (20 girls and 25 boys per toilet) and 16.7% of schools provided changing rooms with basic amenities, such as, water, waste bin, soap and emergency supplies. Inadequate WASH conditions in schools may hinder girls’ full participation in school and lead to their poor performance and increased dropout rates.

WASH facilities can help girls better manage their menstruation and improve their attendance and completion. “A changing room and clean water will be available soon in my school. We will not miss classes during menstrual periods anymore", said a secondary school student in Kasulu district.  

Schools mobilised resources for building WASH facilities with considerable contribution from community members and school committees. In Kasulu district, a local NGO, Mboni ya Vijana, supported schools by drilling water boreholes. It also helped raise awareness of the importance of WASH among school personnel and community members, which contributed to improving WASH facilities.

The availability of water was necessary to introduce a school feeding programme and dormitories, and to build changing rooms and more toilets. We are proud of these changes in our school.
Titye Secondary School Principal

These activities are a part of the UNESCO-UNFPA-UN Women Joint Programme, which applies a coordinated and multi-sectoral approach to empowering girls and young women through quality education in Tanzania. The project is supported by the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).  

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