Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Schools: Bringing communities together in Timor-Leste

Students of Horaiquic Basic Education School, Ainaro Municipality.
@UNICEF Timor-Leste/2017/cmcintosh
“The toilets are broken. We can use them but they are not in good condition and we have to carry water to fill the tank,” says 11-year-old Mangauda dos Neis da Suria, describing the condition of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities at her school, Horaiquic Basic Education School in Ainaro Municipality (district).

“We have toilets but no water comes to our school and it is difficult to get water. We have to travel a long distance to collect water and bring it to school,” says Adaesizo (10), a student at Biluli Basic Education Filial School in Ermera Municipality.

Horaiquic Basic Education School and Biluli Basic Education Filial School are like many schools in Timor-Leste where water sanitation and hygiene facilities are in a poor condition, often not functioning and some without a running water connection. Nationwide, 40 per cent of basic education schools covering Grades 1-9 lack access to an improved water source; 70 per cent have toilets, although a significant percentage of these facilities (30 per cent) are partially functioning or not functioning at all according to the Ministry of Education’s latest data (EMIS 2015).

“We have no water or soap,” says Fransisco, a student at Biluli Basic Education Filial School. Limited availability of water and soap in schools also means that children and teachers do not always practice hand washing with soap before eating and after using toilets during school hours.
Community consultation on the importance of maintaining school water and sanitation facilities.
@UNICEF Timor-Leste/2017/emartins