Water, Sanitation and Hygiene
Achieving development goals is impossible without paying attention to WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene). Evidence shows that WASH improves children’s health and ability to do well in school. It promotes gender equality, the empowerment of women, and the growth of poor communities.
Poor WASH conditions lead to diarrhoea, one of the major causes of deaths among children below five years old. Long-term exposure to unsanitary environments can also cause stunting, leading to very poor educational outcomes. Intestinal worm infection rates in the Philippines go up to as high as 67 per cent—higher than most countries in Southeast Asia.
Schools in poor communities in the Philippines are the least served. A 2010 survey by the Department of Education (DepED) estimates that more than 7,000 primary schools have no steady water source and more than 90,000 school toilets need to be constructed to meet the basic standard.
UNICEF aims to achieve universal use and access to sustainable and resilient basic sanitation and safe water with improved hygiene behaviour in disadvantaged households, schools and ECCD centers.
The WASH programme focuses on the poorest villages with the lowest WASH coverage. By 2014, it is expected to achieve this in 20 vulnerable local government units (LGUs). By 2016, it help scale up interventions in majority of barangays in 80 municipalities.
Based on the 2011 WASH Situation Analysis (UNICEF), the three areas that hamper the progress of WASH are inadequate access to WASH services and products; poor hygiene practices and low demand for WASH services; and a weak enabling environment.
The first phase of the WASH programme demonstrates increased household demand for WASH services, increasing access to these services and improving hygiene practices. The second phase focuses on advocacy, support, and sharing of resources to sustainably scale up successful approaches.