A school without books is inconceivable. But we also know that water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) are just as essential as materials that children need to learn. However, millions of children attend ‘dry schools’, where WASH services are lacking.

New findings from the first global assessment of data on WASH in schools, by the UNICEF/WHO Joint Monitoring Programme, shows that:

 
  • one in four primary schools have no drinking water service;
     
  • in 23% of schools, there are no sanitation services; and
     
  • 900 million children currently lack basic hygiene services.
 

When girls are unable to manage their period, they may not attend school. Without access to soap and water to wash their hands after defecating, and before eating, children and teachers are exposed to diseases like diarrhoea.

This is preventable, and we must put an end to it.

With this data, we have evidence of the need to prioritise the funding, installation and maintenance of WASH services in all schools for every child.