WATER FOR HEALTH INITIATIVE
A CHANCE FOR HEALTH
The aim of this initiative is to create a safe, inclusive and equitable learning environment for the school children of our cooperating communities in Honduras.
In order to do so, we are equipping schools with access to clean drinking water and adequate sanitation facilities, as well as learning resources for improving the children’s hygiene behaviour.
THE THREE COMPONENTS OF THE WATER FOR HEALTH INITIATIVE
CLEAN DRINKING WATER
Diseases from dirty water kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war. Since most rural schools in Honduras have limited or no access to clean drinking water, we provide each school with bio-sand water filters that clean the water from potential bacteria and parasites.
Besides ensuring the sufficient hydration of the children, the health improvements increase the physical and cognitive development of children which in turn leads to a higher learning capacity and improved attendance rates.
ADEQUATE SANITATION FACILITIES
The second component of the Water for Health Initiative is to ensure that all schools are equipped with functional, private and safe toilets as well as hand-washing stations. While this positively impacts health and learning outcomes for all, it especially addresses the needs of girls.
Girls who are menstruating, in particular, would rather not go to school than have to deal with the discomfort a lack of privacy spawns. The absence of these facilities therefore heavily contributes to girls missing days at school, which can even result in girls dropping out of education altogether. This makes the Water for Health Initiative an important driver for gender equality.
In addition to the health risks and inequality aspect, the absence of clean drinking water and sanitation facilities sends children the wrong message about the importance of hygiene and health.
Therefore, the improvements in the water and sanitation infrastructure of the schools will be combined with specific workshops focusing on health and hygiene behaviour. What children learn today about hygiene and the prevention of water-borne diseases, is most likely to be passed on to their peers, family members and their future children.
WHAT WE HAVE ALREADY IMPLEMENTED
WATER AND SANITATION IN RURAL SCHOOLS IN HONDURAS
More than 25% of schools in rural areas have no access to basic drinking water
77% of schools in rural Honduras have no access to basic sanitation facilities
More than 80% of schools in rural Honduras have no access to basic hand-washing facilities
COMMONLY WORKING TOWARDS COMMON GOALS
We are aware that community involvement is crucial for the success of the Water for Health Initiative. It increases the initiative’s acceptability within the community, enriches it with additional local knowledge and gives the community ownership of and responsibility for the new water and sanitation infrastructure. We are therefore committed to involving the broader community, as well as the parents of the school children, in several ways.
CONSTRUCTION OF FACILITIES
A group of parents and community members support the construction process of toilets, hand-washing stations and wells at each school. To compensate them for their physical labour, they receive a free lunch and reasonable pay.
MAINTENANCE OF FACILITIES
Once the facilities are built and in operation, parents take responsibility for maintenance. This includes cleaning and possible repair of the facilities. This is a key success factor as it ensures the sustainability of the initiative.
LINKAGE TO THE LOCAL ECONOMY
We try to buy as many materials as possible from small local shops in the communities. In addition, we involve local service providers for more complex work. In this way, we strengthen the local economy as much as possible.