Promoting handwashing and hygiene education in schools in Morocco for the most vulnerable children
Eastern Region (Guercif province) and Sous-Massa region (Dcheira-Taghazout province)
Direct: 7,000 (5,700 boys under the age of 15 and 2,800 girls). Teachers, administrative staff and parents who directly benefit from the renovation of health blocks and from hygiene sessions and campaigns are also included.
Indirect: 600 (250 women). Parent associations, education inspectors and heads of the provincial boards of education.
september 2020 - september 2022
Health infrastructures in schools located in the Guercif province, in the Eastern and Sous-Massa regions are very dilapidated and in many cases are not accessible, especially in rural and peri-urban areas. There is also a lack of education and awareness of hygiene and health, as well as an incorrect use of the facilities by educational actors and parents. This lack of knowledge and awareness of the importance of hygiene and the use of health facilities affects both the quality of their maintenance and the integration of hygiene practices in the school management and planning of educational activities.
Some schools lack running water, latrines are dysfunctional, and facilities in general are not adapted to the specific needs of children in pre-school age or those with disabilities.
Education about hygiene and a change of behavior with regard to handwashing is essential for children as it benefits the reduction of disease transmission and contributes to ensuring their health and school continuity.
In the most vulnerable communities, handwashing is rarely put into practice due to the lack of knowledge. The diarrhea rate, for instance, continues to be very high among younger children, representing the second leading factor in child mortality in Morocco, with a prevalence rate of 22% in children under the age of 5. This indicator is five times higher in rural areas.
Improvement of the hygiene conditions in schools after COVID-19, with:
• Update / rehabilitation of sanitation facilities in schools.
• Provision of specific school equipment with hygiene kits for handwashing and hygiene kits for girls.
• Capacity building for children, teachers and administrative staff on hygiene education measures and approaches.
• Awareness-creation measures for children, parents and the community of the importance of hygiene measures.
The added value of this project is mainly the communal approach that will allow the achievement of the following key results:
• Anchoring healthy practices and school practices to improve the knowledge of children, who are considered agents for change.
• Fight against gender discrimination focused on girls (awareness of menstrual hygiene).
Through this project, we implement a model to reach areas with an economically disadvantaged population and where children face difficulties related to education.
The implementation of this project will follow a participative approach by means of the creation of a regional planning and implementation committee (steering committee) and a provincial technical monitoring committee. There will be local school committees to facilitate the assessment of the situation in schools, the planning of activities and their follow-up. These committees will be made up of provincial officials, school principals, teachers, representatives of parent associations and student representatives.
The participation of all stakeholders in the activity planning stage will adapt the approaches to the real needs of the target population and ensure the adoption of all developed programs, as well as the identification of human resources capable of “replicating in other schools”, always following the guidelines of the We Are Water Foundation for the sustainable construction of latrines will be followed, as summarized in the
One of the main components of the project is capacity building and the development of training and awareness raising tools, thus ensuring the transfer of skills at a regional and local levels. The approach of the UNICEF program, essentially based on training and community consultation at all levels of decision making, allows the participation of the community, both from the cultural and technical point of view.
The rehabilitation of sanitation facilities in schools will be for public schools, whose access remains free for children and the transfer of assets is a public good guaranteed by free access to schools in Morocco.
The project is part of the school management change as it jointly considers the importance of maintaining health equipment as well as the integration of education and continuous awareness-raising programs of hygiene. The combination of these components will be promoted throughout the entire project for the integration of hygiene dimensions in local educational policies and their regular funding by the budgets of educational authorities.