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Ten tips to improve your school environment

(The following information, developed by Karin Metell, addresses ways to help create a hygienic and healthy school environment.)

  1. Assess the school environment. How can you make it more child-friendly, safe and healthy? Identify five areas for easy improvement and make an action plan together with the children.

  2. Assess together the hygienic habits of children and their parents in school and at home. Identify five bad behaviours that affect children's health and set up goals to change them.

  3. Make sure children have safe water for drinking in school!

  4. Organise regular "Clean and Healthy School Days". For example, all pupils can clean their school compound once a week.

  5. Select "child monitors for health", to report on disease prevalence in their community. Link monitoring to environmental action.

  6. Invite the children to make an environmental map of the community to identify resources and sites in need of protection and improvement. Take action!

  7. Involve parents in concrete activities to improve hygiene facilities at school. They can, for example, construct latrines.

  8. Take early steps to an environmentally friendly school, by recycling, set up a compost bin, arranging a kitchen garden, planting trees and making sure that water is not wasted.

  9. Arrange hand-washing facilities with soap or ash close to the latrines/toilets. Make sure they are used and maintained!

  10. Review the nation's curriculum and make suggestions on how hygiene and environment can be better incorporated.

For information about involving the community in school improvements, visit Helping the community help the school.

Note: The Manual On School Sanitation and Hygiene is available (in pdf in three languages) as part of the UNICEF Water, Environment and Sanitation Technical Guidelines Series

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Last revised October, 2001
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