WASH in Schools (WINS) Virtual Toolbox West Africa

Photo by Henry Wilkins for CRS

Use our Toolbox for WASH in Schools

At CRS, we're committed to every child's well-being. That's why we prioritize WASH in schools, aiming for lasting change. We engage stakeholders at all levels—teachers, students, parents. We work closely with education authorities, aiding in supervision and monitoring. Together, we transform education, fostering quality learning and lifelong health habits.

WASH in schools is crucial, aligned with SDGs for safe, inclusive learning environments and universal WASH access (WHO/UNICEF JMP).

To navigate the technical pages in the toolbox, scroll down to open Stakeholder Engagement, School-led WASH Action Planning, School Hygiene Promotion & Lessons, Safe Drinking Water in Classrooms, School Latrines and Monitoring.

Alice Zongo, 11 years old, undertakes a demonstration in handwashing with her fellow students during a hygiene promotion session at the Bokin primary school in the village of Guibaré, Bam Province, Burkina Faso. Photo by Sam Phelps/CRS

Unlocking School Hygiene: CRS Toolbox

This toolbox shares guidance and over 10 years’ experience from Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and stakeholders who transformed 698 schools in Burkina Faso and Ghana with sustainable WASH solutions. This work was supported by a grant from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust to Catholic Relief Services.

Hygienic Havens: Our adaptation of the USAID WASH-friendly school approach fosters safe, clean learning spaces for all.

Lifelong Impact: Instilling lifelong hygiene habits for brighter futures.

Inspire & Innovate: Join us in promoting school hygiene in low-income settings. Explore our toolbox!

More on our results here: Impact & results

5 Key Results

CRS’ approach to WASH in schools seeks to achieve and sustain 5 key results:

  1. Access to safe drinking water, safely stored in each classroom.

  2. Use of gender-friendly latrines, maintained cleaned at all times.

  3. Handwashing with water and soap or ash at critical times.

  4. Participatory, child-centered hygiene lessons and practice.

  5. School-led management of WASH to sustain results.

Stakeholder Engagement

Engaging stakeholders is the crucial first step in the WASH-friendly school process and a fundamental requirement for ensuring sustainability. At the grassroots level, involving teachers, pupils, and parents is essential. Simultaneously, engaging education authorities at district and provincial levels is vital for their support in supervision, monitoring, and enforcing regulations.

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School-led Wash Action Planning

After conducting the school WASH survey, we are now involving the school community (teachers, parents, and students) in creating and executing an action plan to enhance and sustain WASH services at school. This plan is crucial for turning commitments into a comprehensive roadmap for becoming a WASH-friendly school.

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School Hygiene Promotion and Lessons

Hygiene education is key to WASH-friendly schools, empowering kids with lifelong habits to share. Focusing on accessible, enjoyable handwashing. Our approach to Menstrual Hygiene Management includes integrated lessons, gender-friendly facilities, and reusable pad training.

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Safe Drinking Water in Classrooms

We're committed to providing safe drinking water for all children and also addressing other essential needs like handwashing, menstrual hygiene management, facility cleaning, and even cooking requirements in schools with canteens, among other vital necessities.

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School Latrines

Sanitation facilities in schools are crucial for a WASH-friendly environment. Sustainable, impactful access for students and staff demands a holistic approach. Beyond facility provision, it involves planning, management, usage, operation, cleaning, and maintenance, all integrated into school WASH action for lasting benefits.

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Ensuring a watchful eye on WASH conditions right from the start of the journey towards becoming a WASH-friendly school is crucial. This vigilance is equally vital as we strive for the continuous enhancement and upkeep of this status. Regularly assessing WASH conditions empowers the school community and stakeholders to gauge the quality of WASH services and track our progress.

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Results and Impact

Explore the remarkable outcomes of a decade's worth of experience as we've partnered with stakeholders in Burkina Faso and Ghana to enhance our innovative WASH in Schools program, generously supported by The Helmsley Charitable Trust.

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Contact Information

Contact us to share comments or to ask questions about WASH in schools.

Contact WASH Toolkit