Nepal WASH Blog Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) & Development in Nepal

April 26, 2013

Taps and toilets help girls stay in school

Taps and toilets help girls stay in school

We all know how important pens and books are in schools. But less well known is how important water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities are too. Schoolgirls in particular find it difficult to stay in school if there is a lack of clean, safe toilets. Without these basic facilities, the gender ratio of school-going children will never be balanced.

In Nepal, girls are treated differently to boys from early childhood, due to social and cultural beliefs. As a result, they tend to be shy, and find it hard to use mixed toilets. Mixed toilets often lack the necessary facilities for menstural hygiene management, leaving them nowhere to clean or dispose of their sanitary pads. As a result, many girls miss school or drop out completely, affecting their academic performance and limiting their options as adults.

Access to quality education empowers girls, giving them more control over their lives and enabling them to take advantage of economic opportunities. Educated girls are typically healthier and more confident, marrying later and having fewer children. This has a big impact on the health and wellbeing of communities.

These benefits have been recognised by global leaders and reflected in key government commitments on ensuring girls’ right to education:

Dakar Framework for Action on Education for All (EFA):
(World Education Forum, Dakar, Senegal, 26-28 April 2000, Full text published by UNESCO can be found at

• To ensure, by 2015, that all children (particularly girls, children in difficult circumstances and those belonging to ethnic minorities) have access to, and complete, free and compulsory primary education of good quality.
• To eliminate gender disparities in primary and secondary education by 2005, and achieve gender equality in education by 2015, with a focus on ensuring girls have full and equal access to basic education of good quality.
• To improve the quality of education and ensure excellence so that recognised and measurable learning outcomes are achieved by all, especially in literacy, numeracy and essential life skills.

Beijing Platform for Action (1995):

• Education is a human right and an essential tool for achieving the goals of equality, development and peace. Non-discriminatory education benefits both boys and girls and ultimately contributes to more equal relationships between men and women.

Building adequate WASH facilities in schools is key to ensure that girls stay in school and complete their education. Investment in school WASH is one of the best ways to achieve sustainable development.

The post is written by Mr Sagar Prasai – sagarDOTprasain@gmailDOTcom

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