Children spend a significant amount of time in school and so it’s not surprising that the school environment plays a large role in determining whether they stay healthy and continue to learn or not. When schools have clean toilets for both boys and girls, access to clean water and are hygienic this contributes to more children attending school and learning.
When schools are made into enabling environments with access to water, sanitation, and health-related services more girls are likely to stay in school which reduces the risk of early marriage and pregnancy. This is because girls often don’t go to school during menstruation if the school does not have appropriate facilities, and slowly they start to fall behijd and even drop out. Studies have shown that a quarter of all girls in school in India took time off when menstruating. One of the key reasons for this was inadequate gender-specific toilets, non-availability of sanitary pads and dirty toilets in schools (also due to poor cleaning, lack of water and lack of disposal facilities).
Some 22 per cent of schools in India, according to the study, did not have appropriate toilets for girls and 58 per cent of preschools had no toilet at all (Rapid survey on children 2013-14). Also, some 56 per cent of preschools had no water available on the premises. In many rural schools in India, water quality remains a major issue, as many schools do not have adequate water treatment facilities for testing for contaminants like iron, arsenic or fluoride (Rapid survey on children 2013-14).
To tackle these issues, The Government of India launched a nationwide campaign, Swachh Bharat: Swachh Vidyalaya (SBSV), or “Clean India: Clean Schools”, in 2014. SBSV’s goal is to make a visible impact on children's health and hygiene through improving both their health and hygiene practices and those of their families and communities. Another aim is to improve the WASH curriculum and teaching methods while promoting hygiene practices and community ownership of water and sanitation facilities within schools. This has improved children’s health, school enrolment, attendance and retention and paves the way for a new generation of healthy children.
SBSV focuses on good WASH practices including the provision of safe drinking water, group handwashing and ensuring toilet and soap facilities are available in the school compound for use by all children and teachers. It also includes activities that promote good practices in schools that help to prevent water, hygiene and sanitation-related diseases.
 Review of Menstrual Hygiene Management in Schools in India, Department of Clinical Sciences, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM), Liverpool, UK and UNICEF 2014-15