Every child has the right to be in a school that provides basic services such as clean and safe water and healthy sanitation. More children than ever before are attending primary school in Tanzania as a result of a number of successful policy and government interventions, especially the enforcement of fee-free education policy in 2015.
In 2016 over one million children were enrolled to primary schools. Whilst the number of children enrolled to primary school has increased drastically over this time, the water and sanitation resources required at schools to keep pace with this enrolment are significantly remained inadequate.
Access to safe and clean water, adequate sanitation facilities and good hygiene practices are all important as they contribute to the well- being of children, prevent children from contracting water-borne diseases.
The challenges of School Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (Swash) are more pronounced in developing countries unlike the developed world (Tanzania National Strategy for School Wash, 2012-2017). According to a report by the UN children’s agency and its partners, titled “Raising Clean Hands,” in sixty countries in the developing world, more than half of primary schools have no adequate water facilities and nearly two-thirds lack adequate sanitation (UN, 2004).
Lack of water and basic sanitation in school not only affects children’s physical development but also school attendance and academic performance especially the girls who have reached puberty. Many studies have revealed that girls do not attend school during menstruation if clean and adequate latrines are not available (Unicef, SNV and Water Aid report 2008). Their absenteeism often leads to poor school performance and high drop-out rates. In sub-Saharan Africa, more than 50 percent of all girls drop out of primary school because of insufficient access to safe water and inadequate sanitation facilities (Unicef report 2016). Availability of adequate water supply of good quality in school reduces time spent in fetching water, increases health standards, and ensures a favourable environment which increase children’s school attendance (Tanzania National Policy 2002).
Uwezo Tanzania Annual Learning assessment findings in 2015 revealed that less than half of public primary schools in Tanzania have access to clean water and nearly two-thirds lack adequate sanitation. Children in Many schools spend reasonable time fetching water than being in the classroom.