Scoping Study of WASH in Schools Programming in Eastern and Southern Africa

A review of evidence, bottlenecks and opportunities to meeting Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets

Students wash their hands at a newly built handwashing point at the primary school in Pemba District, Southern Province, Zambia.


The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), call for universal access to safe water, dignified sanitation and hygiene (WASH) for all by 2030. For children, this extends beyond the confines of the household to a child’s place of school and play. With children spending several hours a day and over a decade of their growing years in schools, basic access to sustainable WASH in schools is not only crucial for their health and well-being, it is also a fundamental human right. The SDGs exhort countries to build and upgrade education facilities that are child-, disability and gender-sensitive, and equipped with basic drinking water, single-sex basic sanitation and basic handwashing facilities.

In 2018, UNICEF Eastern and Southern Africa conducted a regional scoping study and deep dive to assess the status of WASH services in schools and related gaps to scale-up in the region. The 2018 scoping study builds upon findings from two past situational analyses in the region, published in 2013 and 2017 respectively, and presents the most up-to-date synopsis of the enabling environment for sustainable WASH in schools programming in the 21 countries in the region.

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