UNICEF and the Ministry of Education and Research call to action all relevant institutions to participate in improving access to WASH facilities in schools

23 April 2024
UNICEF și Ministerul Educației și Cercetării au lansat un apel către toate instituțiile să participe la îmbunătățirea accesului la apă potabilă și blocuri sanitare adecvate în școli

Chisinau, 19 April 2024: The WASH infrastructure in schools requires substantial improvements. UNICEF and the Ministry of Education and Research initiated a discussion on this matter during the roundtable titled "Ensuring Sustainable WASH Infrastructure and Services in Educational Institutions in the Republic of Moldova." The event was organized in partnership with the Parliamentary Committee on Culture, Education, Research, Youth, and Mass Media, ensuring the participation of representatives from the Government, Parliament, supervisory and approval agencies, and development partners.

At the event, the UNICEF team presented the results of the assessment conducted from October 2023 to February 2024 in 968 educational institutions. The findings revealed that every other school in Moldova lacks a wastewater collection and treatment system. Additionally, students in rural areas have limited access to water, sanitation, and hygiene in schools. Moreover, due to high costs and insufficient financial resources, school managers choose not to empty tanks or cesspits as frequently as necessary. UNICEF representatives reiterated that such situations pose risks to public health and the environment, and urged all stakeholders to mobilize their resources to protect both children and the environment.

"By improving access to WASH services in schools, we have the opportunity to integrate environmentally friendly practices. By promoting safe education and the well-being of students, we guarantee their dignity, safety, and privacy, as well as a much broader impact on society. For this reason, it is important to prioritize this issue and take immediate action to provide better water supply, hygiene, and sanitation services in schools," said UNICEF Representative in Moldova, Maha Damaj.

In turn, representatives of the Ministry of Education and Research presented the challenges faced by educational institutions in this area, along with a series of solutions that will directly contribute to improving WASH services in schools. ” Hygiene education is achieved not only through investments in infrastructure but also through behavioral changes. It is the responsibility of the Ministry of Education and Research to ensure that this right is guaranteed in educational institutions. Through collaborative efforts, we can create a safe and healthy learning environment for all students,” noted Secretary of State at the Ministry of Education and Research, Valentina Olaru.

Additionally, representatives of relevant institutions and development partners acknowledged the efforts of UNICEF and the Ministry of Education and Research in this field, ensuring their commitment to actively engage in implementing activities aimed at providing better access to safe drinking water and sanitation services in schools. 

"Training and communication with those who implement these measures are essential. You will have our support from the relevant parliamentary committees to assist you in our common endeavour to ensure the quality of life. The young generation is the future, and if we care for them from a very young age, we will have a healthy generation," mentioned Member of the Parliamentary Committee on Culture, Education, Research, Youth, and Mass Media, Larisa Novac. Larisa Novac also stated that access to water and sanitation is not a privilege but a fundamental right for every child.

During the event, UNICEF provided a series of recommendations and concrete actions that could be implemented with the support of partners and donors. Among these are developing an intervention plan in schools accompanied by climate-resilient and energy-efficient technical solutions. The roundtable on "Ensuring Sustainable WASH Infrastructure and Services in Educational Institutions in the Republic of Moldova" is part of a series of activities carried out by UNICEF and the Ministry of Education and Research to increase awareness of the risks and necessary legislative and technical changes to improve WASH infrastructure and services in schools, so that children can benefit from a safe educational environment.

The event was organized as part of the Rehabilitation and Construction of Sanitary Blocks in Schools Programme, initiated by the Ministry of Education and Research and UNICEF and funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development through the German Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW). Within the program, 125 educational institutions will benefit from full support to improve water and sanitation conditions. The total budget of the programme amounts around 85 million MDL.

The results of the assessment of water supply, sanitation, and hygiene facilities in schools in Moldova can be accessed HERE.

Media contacts

Angela Munteanu
Communication Officer
UNICEF Moldova
Tel: + 373 22 26 91 53


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