Japan Provides 4 million USD for “The Project for Improving WASH Environment in Schools”

Kabul, Afghanistan, 12 November 2020

UNICEF Afghanistan

Kabul, Afghanistan, 12 November 2020 – The Government of Japan has pledged approximately 4 million USD (422 million Japanese Yen) for the “The Project for Improving WASH Environment in Schools.” Mr. Yoshiaki Takahashi, Chargé de’ Affaires ad interim of the Embassy of Japan in Afghanistan, and Ms. Sheema Sen Gupta, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Representative ad interim, in Afghanistan, signed the agreement in the presence of Her Excellency Ms. Rangina Hamidi, Minister of Education. The project will be implemented by UNICEF and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), in partnership with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development.

In Afghanistan the Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) situation in schools remains a major challenge, with more than a third of schools without access to an improved water resource within school premises; half of all schools without sanitation facilities; and two thirds without hand-washing facilities. Also, only 40 percent of schools have separate toilets for boys and girls, and most schools have no facilities for Menstruation Hygiene Management (MHM). These factors contribute to poor school attendance, a situation which is more acute for girls. This environment is not conducive for learning and is further compounded by lack of information and materials on appropriate hygiene practices and MHM, inadequate training of teachers and limited capacity of the district and provincial education departments to monitor and support the schools in their respective jurisdictions. 

This support from the Government of Japan will enable 38 target schools in 4 provinces (Kapisa, Paktia, Laghman and Daikundi that are with the lowest current WASH in schools coverage rate) to provide necessary WASH services, including access to improved water, hygienic sanitation facilities separated for boys and girls, MHM facilities for girls, and materials and training for teachers and school management committees, along with strengthening the monitoring and support that is provided to those schools through the education department in each province. This will benefit approximately 20,000 students, 1,000 teachers, 380 school management committee members, and 19,000 people residing near schools.

Her Excellency Ms. Rangina Hamidi, Minister of Education considers this assistance important in enabling Afghanistan in the provision of WASH facilities and services in schools. “ The Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan values the cooperation and support provided by the people of the Government of Japan and UNICEF;  I look forward to our continued collaboration to ensure that our schools have adequate water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities,” said Ms. Hamidi.

Mr. Yoshiaki TAKAHASHI, Charge d’ Affaires ad interim of the Embassy of Japan in Afghanistan stated “School is not a place only for studying math and history, but the place where children learn how to live together before stepping into the society.  Therefore, learning the concept of hygiene at school is very important in that it will help make the society a better place to live safe.

“In the grip of a global pandemic -- where we know that handwashing prevents the spread of the COVID-19 virus --we must do better for Afghanistan’s children. This generous grant from Japan will enable us to make the school learning environment healthy, hygienic and safer,” said UNICEF Representative ad interim in Afghanistan, Sheema Sen Gupta.

Japan has been assisting Afghanistan’s nation-building efforts in various fields including security, infrastructure, agriculture, rural development, human capacity development, education, health, culture and humanitarian assistance. The cumulative Japanese assistance to Afghanistan since 2001 amounts to approximately 6.8 billion USD.