WASH Challenges in Yemen's Schools: Journeying toward Better Health and Education
UNICEF and USAID have created more secure and comfortable learning environments for girls at a multitude of schools
- Available in:
Students and teachers in many Yemeni schools lack access to clean and safe water and sanitation, especially in the midst of the conflict, putting their health at risk. The lack of adequate WASH facilities affects not only health and hygiene but also students’ education, with many, especially girls, missing class due to water-related illnesses and inadequate sanitation facilities.
Improving the WASH Situation: A Joint UNICEF-USAID Effort
To address the WASH crisis in schools, UNICEF partnered with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to target schools across multiple governorates. The aim was to rehabilitate essential WASH facilities, provide water tanks, toilets, handwashing stations, indoor cleaning kits for staff, and train teachers and students on proper hygiene practices. The impact of this intervention has been significant, with many students and teachers noticing much-improved health and well-being.
Impact on Students and Teachers: A Healthier and Better-Informed Community
The improved access to clean water and sanitation facilities has made a massive difference to the health and education of both students and teachers. "I would worry every day about my students’ health. The lack of proper sanitation facilities was a big concern as girls crowded to use the only bathroom," says Wafa'a Khaled, an English teacher at Alzahra'a Elementary School.
"I am grateful for this intervention. The clean water and toilets in the school have improved the health and hygiene of students and teachers,"
The provision of WASH services has also greatly helped to increase school attendance, especially for girls. "Before, many girls would miss school because of the lack of proper sanitation facilities. But now, they can attend school and focus on their education," says Shahd Jamal, a student at Alzahra'a Elementary School.
Shooq, a student at one of the schools which benefitted from the UNICEF-USAID intervention, added: "Our school used to lack proper toilets and handwashing facilities. But now we have proper toilets, handwashing stations, and access to clean water. It has made such a big difference to our daily school lives."
The improved access to clean water and proper sanitation facilities has also afforded teachers peace of mind in knowing their students are learning in a safe and healthy environment.
WASH Facilities Make a Positive Difference to Girls
The rehabilitation of WASH facilities has been particularly transformative for female students. The absence of clean and safe toilets constitutes a common reason why girls, particularly adolescent girls, avoid attending school. By offering clean and well-functioning bathrooms, UNICEF and USAID have created more secure and comfortable learning environments for girls at a multitude of schools, enabling them to pursue their education without sacrificing privacy.
"Before the WASH facilities were restored, my mother reminded me every day to use the bathroom before attending school to avoid using the dirty and unsanitary toilets. But now I can use the bathroom comfortably," explains Zainab, a third-grader at Alzahra'a Elementary School.
UNICEF and USAID's Partnership Brings Positive Change
The partnership between UNICEF and USAID has significantly improved WASH conditions across Yemeni schools. Their ongoing dedication to clean water and hygienic sanitation facilities at schools creates healthy and secure learning environments and demonstrates the potency of partnerships in tackling global challenges and making a positive impact on communities.