Sustainable School Sanitation

In the vulnerable Southwest coastal region of Bangladesh, particularly in Dacope Upazila, the lack of adequate sanitation facilities and poor health hygiene practices posed significant challenges. Geographically prone to flooding and with low elevation, the area faced a high risk of waterborne diseases due to inadequate sanitation infrastructure and low awareness levels. Moreover, the region's longstanding neglect and poverty exacerbated these issues, leaving communities with limited access to basic resources like safe water and sanitation facilities. Consequently, the health and educational outcomes of students, teachers, and the wider community were adversely affected.

The Sustainable School Sanitation project, implemented by AOSED in collaboration with SIMAVI Netherlands, aimed to address these pressing challenges by improving sanitation infrastructure and promoting proper health hygiene practices in nine rural schools of Dacope Upazila. Through the formation of Sustainable Sanitation Campaign Groups and the development of targeted campaign materials and training modules, the project sought to enhance the knowledge, skills, and capacities of students, teachers, and community stakeholders. Additionally, the project focused on establishing School Sanitation Management Committees equipped with separate funds to ensure the sustainability and maintenance of sanitation facilities within the educational institutions.

As a result of the project intervention, significant improvements were observed in both sanitation infrastructure and health hygiene practices among students and teachers. The capacity, skills, and knowledge of rural students regarding proper health hygiene practices were notably enhanced, leading to improved sanitation facilities in the targeted educational institutions. The establishment of School Sanitation Management Committees with dedicated funds facilitated the effective maintenance and management of sanitation facilities, contributing to sustained improvements in hygiene standards. Notably, the reduction in absenteeism rates among girl students due to improved sanitation facilities highlights the tangible impact of the project on promoting inclusive and equitable access to education in the community.