Lack of facilities and poor hygiene affect both girls and boys, although poor sanitation conditions at schools have a stronger negative impact on girls. All girls should have access to safe, clean, separate and private sanitation facilities in their schools. If there are no latrines and hand washing facilities at school or if they are in a poor state of repair, then many children would rather not attend than use the alternatives. In particular girls who are old enough to menstruate need to have adequate facilities at school that are separate from those of boys. They may miss school every month and find it hard to catch up, which makes them more likely to drop out of school altogether.

There is a need to develop a national sanitation policy and an implementation strategy in collaboration with all key stakeholders. Local level collaboration is required to develop commitment and support maintenance of the facilities in schools by the community.

“Lack of latrines, especially separate latrines for girls was identified as the worst school experience for girls. This draws attention to the special conditions and experience, which prevent girls from fuller participation and achievement. Privacy issues relating to sanitation are a major factor forcing girls out of school.” Dr Crispus Kiyonga, Minister of health, Uganda

In January 1997 an action plan was made to raise the profile of sanitation in Uganda. A concept paper was written and published using existing data including: Socio-economic effects, environmental effects, educational effects: number of girls who drop out , lack of privacy, health effects and nutritional effects. A working group with four specific subgroups was appointed : legislation, Policy, Planning and Organisation of a national forum with members from each district. In addition:

  • An environmental Health Policy was drafted
  • An environmental health act was drafted
  • Two national sanitation plans were drafted

  • Lessons learned from a DPHE-UNICEF study in 1994 and 1998 in Bangladesh showed that provision of water and sanitation facilities in schools increased girl’s attendance by 15%. Interaction with family and demand for sanitation facilities at home were seen in 80% of children where those practices were acquired at school. 

    • Separate latrines for teachers, boys and girls
    • Safe water in all schools
    • Active commitment from PTA for maintenance of water and sanitation facilities​