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Bringing WASH in Schools in the Spotlight during the World Water Week

Bringing WASH in Schools in the Spotlight during the World Water Week

28 August until 2 September 2016, Stockholm World Water Week – WASH in Schools was brought to the forefront in a couple of sessions during the Stockholm World Water Week.

The session on Equitable access to water and sanitation: Sustainable development for all highlighted the focus on equity and access to safe and affordable drinking water and to adequate sanitation and hygiene ‘for all’ as key innovations of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, compared to past global ambitions. Having WASH in Schools (WinS) in the SDGs, governments are encouraged to put WinS on the national agenda and implement measures to achieve these goals.

“More and more children are going to school, still WASH in schools is a neglected issue. There is no clarity over the responsibility for school toilets,” Bella Monse of GIZ was quoted in an article with the headline “WASH in Schools a Neglected Issue” in the Stockholm Water Front, the official World Water Week daily newspaper. She further reiterated the need for intersectoral collaboration to make WASH more equitable: “To achieve better equity, the WASH-sector and the education sector need to start working together.”

In addition, the publication “Scaling up Group Handwashing in Schools – Compendium of Group Washing Facilities around the Globe” was launched by representatives of German Development Cooperation and UNICEF during the 23rd Meeting of the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA).

In another, separate SuSanA Working Group 7 Meeting on Managing WASH in Schools (WinS) – Is the education sector ready? facilitated by Belinda Abraham from UNICEF and Bella Monse of GIZ, a paradigm shift, from focusing on hardware, on constructing toilets and handwashing facilities to also addressing software issues such as systems strengthening and capacity development of various players, were discussed. During the discussion it was highlighted that the education sector’s leadership and management are critical to broad-scale implementation and success of WinS. In addition, participants were also encouraged to start with small steps in making national standards of WinS a reality.

The discussion will continue online in the SuSanA forum from 19-30 September with lead experts in the field, and you can join here.

The Stockholm World Water Week is an annual event organized by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) and is attended by experts, practioners and decision makers from the development sector and government actors to discuss water issues.

(Photo credit to Stockholm International Water Institute, 2016)