When people think about education, simple everyday tasks such as handwashing for health are usually not seen as a need to be able to learn.This intriguing discussion linked education and sanitation from handwashing to menstrual hygiene. Today, 42% of students interrupt learning because they need to walk long distances to get water which can cause them to miss an entire school day. The simple act of hand washing allows for 36 % less cases of diarrhea and 23% less stunting, but many parts of the world still lack soap to hand wash.
A speaker who works to ensure water is available in Kenya explained, “sanitation is dignity.” Women should not miss school because they have their menstrual cycle. One issue is that many schools in the developing world do not have gender segregated toilets. This solution will allow students to stay in school longer and girls will no longer feel uncomfortable to manage their menstrual cycle. Also, Kenya has created a solution called menstrual hygiene education management which works to educate and provide hygiene products to girls.
Another organization, Education Cannot Wait, works to fund education in conflict zones. For example, in a refugee camp a girl can get sick from drinking water and not be able to learn or a girl will not drink water to avoid using the bathroom because she does not feel protected to use the bathroom. These problems indicate the link between education and sanitation. Two other dimensions are sanitation for persons with disabilities in the developing world, including slums, as well as the barrier of cultural values of those who do not understand the dangers of improper sanitation. There was universal call to educate without disrespecting cultural values. Sanitation for disabled persons needs to be a priority. This meeting explored the need for and difficult life without the vital human rights that are sanitation and education for all boys and girls as well as adults anywhere.
Meeting: Sanitation as an Entry Point for Sanitation and Health
Date/Location: Thursday 12th July 2018; 13:15 to 14:30 Conference Rm 9, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY
Mr.Ali AL Dabbagh, Executive Director of Qatar Fund for Development
Ms.Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait
Ms.Irene Gai, Programmes Coordinator of Kenya Water for Health Organization (KEWASNET)
Mr.Roif Luyendijk, Executive Director WSSCC
Ms.Madge Thomas, Director of Global Policy and Government Affairs Global Citizen
Written by: WIT Representative Mariam Elsaker