Water, sanitation and hygiene

Providing adequate water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services is critical to improving the survival, health and development of children.

Girls washing their hands


In Tanzania, WASH-sensitive indicators such as diarrhoea and stunting are high. Campaigns to encourage simple hygiene practices like washing hands with soap can reduce the incidence of diarrhoea by an estimated 47 per cent while use of proper sanitation can reduce cases of diarrhoea by an estimated 36 per cent. Poor access to WASH has an unaffordably high cost, wasting resources that could be used for furthering the country's development agenda. It is estimated that Tanzania spends 70 per cent of its health budget on preventable WASH-related diseases as the majority of the population does not have access to improved sanitation, and close to half of the population does not have access to clean drinking water. Without adequate WASH facilities, homes, schools and health centres become breeding grounds for diseases that kill children and threaten their ability to grow. Girls, children with disabilities and children living in rural areas are most affected. This further heightens inequities and uneven opportunities for development. The impact of poor WASH on children living in crisis situations also affects their chances of survival.

As part of its Vision 2025, the Government of Tanzania has pledged to increase access to improved sanitation to 95 per cent by 2025. The Second Five Year Development Plan (FYDP II) has also set the target for access to improved sanitation facilities at 85 per cent in rural areas.


What is UNICEF doing?

UNICEF is working with the Tanzanian government and development partners on four priority WASH areas: to ensure access to improved sanitation and hygiene in rural and peri-urban communities through the Communityled Total Sanitation approach; develop sustainable solutions for provision of WASH facilities in health and educational institutions, and assist in framing national WASH guidelines and toolkits for effective implementation of WASH services; ensure sustainable and equitable access to safe drinking water in rural and periurban areas; and provide effective response in emergencies to prevent the spread of diseases due to poor sanitation, unhygienic living conditions and unsafe drinking water. UNICEF puts the interests of the most disadvantaged children squarely on the WASH agenda by addressing the disparities in service provision; the farreaching impacts of inadequate WASH on girls and women; and access for children with disabilities. Focused geographic support is given to districts in Mbeya, Njombe and Iringa regions, Temeke municipality in Dar es Salaam, and Zanzibar, where access to WASH is particularly challenging.

What we want to achieve by 2021

Strengthened national water, sanitation and hygiene sector:

  • A sustainable strategy for rural water supply rolled-out and implemented nationally.
  • A national behaviour change communication strategy for the promotion of effective sanitation and hygiene developed. Capacity for the implementation of this strategy built and rolled-out in districts.
  • A national strategy for the implementation of guidelines for WASH in communities, schools and healthcare facilities developed. Capacity for the implementation of these guidelines built and rolled-out in districts.
  • Capacity of ministry department authorities (MDAs) and civil society organizations (CSOs) for coordinated emergency preparedness, response and recovery strengthened, and emergencies adequately responded to.

For districts in Mbeya, Njombe and Iringa regions, Temeke municipality and Zanzibar:

  • A model for effectively communicating behaviour change in sanitation and hygiene implemented.  WASH in communities, schools and healthcare facilities implemented and aligned with national guidelines.
  • Integrated WASH plans inclusive of all districts developed and implemented.
  • Models for community-operated and maintained rural water supply tested and scaled-up.
  • MDAs, LGAs and CSOs trained in policy analysis and strategic planning, monitoring and local accountability.
  • School heads trained in education leadership, management and administration, whole school development approach, and gender and disability issues.
  • MDAs, LGAs, and CSOs supported to engage in evidence-based policy advocacy and dialogue on increased budget allocation for preprimary education and effi cient use of resources.