Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene in Schools in Low Socio-Economic Regions in Nicaragua: A Cross Sectional Survey

Safe water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH) improve the health and educational outcomes of school children. In the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, we assessed WaSH in Nicaraguan schools and found that 43% had access to water, 64% had access to sanitation and 19% had handwashing stations. Sanitation facilities were not in use at 28% of schools and 26% had non-functional water systems. Governments and partners can use this study to develop monitoring systems to track needs and prioritize WaSH investments in schools, especially for marginalized populations.

Water, sanitation, and hygiene (WaSH) in schools contributes to better health and educational outcomes among school-aged children. In 2012, UNICEF Nicaragua and partners conducted a cross-sectional survey of WaSH in 526 schools in 12 low socio-economic status municipalities in Nicaragua. The survey gathered information on: school characteristics; teacher and community participation; water and sanitation infrastructure; and hygiene education and habits. Survey results were analyzed for associations between variables. WaSH coverage was significantly higher in urban than rural areas. Presence of drinking water infrastructure (43%) was lower than sanitation infrastructure (64%). Eighty-one percent of schools had no hand washing stations and 74% of schools lacked soap. Sanitation facilities were not in use at 28% of schools with sanitation infrastructure and 26% of schools with water infrastructure had non-functional systems. Only 8% of schools had budgets to purchase toilet-cleaning supplies and 75% obtained supplies from students’ families. This study generates transferable WaSH sector learnings and new insights from monitoring data. Results can be used by donors, service providers, and policy makers to better target resources in Nicaraguan schools.

Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene in Schools in Low Socio-Economic Regions in Nicaragua: A Cross Sectional Survey. T. Jordanova, R. Cronk, W. Obando, O. Zeledon Medina, R. Kinoshita, J. Bartram. 2015. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 12:6, pp. 6197-6217. doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120606197