Education is recognised as a fundamental human right. Decision-makers are obliged to ensure that it is accessible to all, regardless of gender.
The presence of water and sanitation facilities in schools is as vital as having pens and books for students. Without safe water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) provision for the specific needs of girls in school, access to primary and secondary education will never be equal.
Adolescent girls also require access to menstrual hygiene management facilities in school. Girls often have to stay at home if they are unable to manage menstruation safely or with dignity. As a result, their academic performance is affected and many girls drop out of school permanently.
Access to quality education prepares girls for productive lives. Educating girls has an impact on the wider health of the community and affects the next generation of children. Education brings high economic and social returns across a range of development objectives. Investing in water and sanitation in schools is one of the best ways to achieve sustainable development.
Education gives girls power and control over their lives, access to economic opportunities, self-confidence and self-esteem, and enables them to realise their social and economic rights. Financing the provision of water and sanitation in schools is key to ensuring girls stay in school and complete their education. Though commitments to finance WASH in schools have been made, improvements must now be seen universally.