Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH

Sanitation for Millions – Schools and hospitals should have toilets!

Lead Organization

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH

Eschborn, Hessen, Germany

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Project Summary

Many schools and hospitals in developing countries lack toilets and hand washing possibilities. This leads to high risks of infection and keeps people from going to school (notably girls at the onset of puberty) or to the hospital (e.g. for giving birth). This situation primarily affects children, (pregnant) women and people needing medical attention (e.g. due to HIV). Conditions are especially dire in poor rural areas, urban slums and refugee hosting communities. These are the target areas of the project. We will identify partners who want to change this, and are willing to ensure adequate sanitation in schools and/or hospitals including wastewater treatment, for operation and maintenance as well as for achieving safe hygiene. The project will help to construct the toilets and small wastewater treatment facilities, to train staff. It will also foster the self-organization of schools and communities around improving, cleaning and maintaining the toilets.

Problem Statement

Access to water and sanitation are basic human rights and remain critical sustainable development challenges. Globally 4.5 billion people still do not have access to safe sanitation and hygiene. This includes 600 million people who share a toilet or latrine with other households, and more than 890 million people who still defecate in the open. Over 620 million children worldwide lack basic sanitation at their school. Furthermore, at almost half of all schools across the world there is no possibility to wash hands with water and soap [11] . One of ten girls in Sub-Saharan Africa misses school during the menstruation [5]. This equals as much as twenty percent of a given school year. More than a third of the hospitals in developing countries lack safe drinking water and do not provide adequate possibilities to wash hands with soap. More than 1.5 billion people globally had no sanitation services at their hospital in 2016 [13] , hence being exposed to high health risks and to loss of human dignity when most vulnerable.In countries with a large number of refugees and internally displaced people, inadequate sanitation and hygiene also lead to stigmatization and vulnerability of refugees and host communities, often cause stress and can exacerbate conflicts. Lack of adequate sanitation in schools and hospitals is especially hazardous since it leads to higher child morbidity and precarious hygienic conditions. This is also a factor for high drop-out rates during primary and secondary education.

Solution Overview

Sanitation for Millions builds on available data as well as on the ground knowledge of our offices in partner countries to identify opportunities for transformational change through access to sanitation. Where there is interest on the ground, we conduct a mission and develop a case for action together with our government counterparts. Those are then assessed using a tailor-made appraisal system. We start building infrastructure for safe, adequate, sustainable and inclusive sanitation (toilets, decentralized treatment plants, transfer stations, faecal sludge treatment sites), fostering stakeholder dialogue (e.g. through parents teacher school management committees, through school competitions or establishing WASH Clubs) and training existing staff or entrepreneurs for operation and maintenance. Tailoring our intervention to the local situation and the partners’ preferences fosters local ownership. We plan interventions, we show benefits, we organize events that highlight the relevance of sanitation and foster exchange between people from different parts of the world that would otherwise never meet - but we cannot plan for paradigm shifts. We have seen them happen because we deeply engage with the people involved and they experience something new, strong and surprising. We can create the opportunities but this kind of change can only happen from inside the persons.

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Project Funders

  • Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Water Unite

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