WASH & Learn! programme

Updated - Tuesday 11 December 2018

In this programme, six local partners are implementing a Water, Sanitation and Hygiene programme in 40 primary schools and their surrounding communities. Besides implementing the programme, the local partners are motivated to try new elements in their programmes and to learn from each other through learning meetings and trajectories. Simavi is implementing the WASH and Learn! programme with CABDA, Maji Milele, JESE, HEWASA, EMESCO, UFUNDIKO and TDFT as local partners. Witteveen & Bos and IRC are technical support partners based in The Netherlands. WASH and Learn! is funded through the event Walking for Water 2016-2018, an awareness and fundraising initiative where Dutch school children are sponsored by friends and family to walk 6 kilometres while carrying 6 litres of water in a backpack. Aqua for All is contributing 80% of the money raised by the Walking for Water campaign. Rotary district 1570 is also contributing to the WASH and Learn! programme through Walking for Water and other activities.

Ugandan school children drinking water (photo by Huib van Wersch)


Today, 2.5 billion people around the world lack access to adequate sanitation and 1.8 billion people use a drinking water source that is not safe. Without access to safe water and sanitation diseases spread fast, for example over 13,700 people die every day from diarrhoeal diseases alone. Access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services are not only important in the home: to successfully improve basic health, WASH services and education must be extended to schools and other public places. WASH services and education in schools lag far behind WASH at household level. Currently 31% of schools in developing countries have no access to an improved water source.

Without having proper access and use of WASH facilities at schools and at households the health situation of the community will not improve adequately, and either the school-based or the community / household WASH facilities will be overused and overburdened resulting in a reduced lifespan of the facilities. By paying only attention to school WASH while children at home do not have access to, for example a latrine, or the other way around, having access at home but not at school, only part of the problem has been solved. Specific attention to schools has proven advantages; children - early adopters - learn more easily than adults and they are quicker in adjusting their behaviour. Once children have accepted certain positive behaviour like hand washing or using a hygienic latrine they easily maintain that behaviour when they are adults.

Monitoring and evaluation

Learning is an important element of the WASH and Learn! programme. Monitoring and evaluation are fundamental in this learning process.

We have piloted the use of mWater as tool for mobile data collection. This has enabled us to collect the data and save it on a portal which can easily be used for downloading of the data for analyses as well as visualisation. The local partners have been involved in the development of the questionnaires during the inception workshop of the programme.

Areas of the household baselines done with mWater 

We are currently in the process of finalising the data collection and analysing the results. The results will be used to adapt the programmes to the actual findings. In this way we want to provide solutions to address the challenges faced by each school.