For children between the ages of six and 11, schools are where they learn the habits that keep them healthy as they grow, such as drinking lots of clean water, using toilets properly, and washing hands regularly. These are essential to preventing waterborne diseases – such as diarrhea and intestinal worms.
However, based on our 2018 study of rural schools in Vietnam, many schools still do not have working toilets or sinks that children can use to practice these habits. Currently, their average ratio for sinks is one facility to 152 children. Only 22% of schools have soap and water at handwashing stations, while only 11% have soap at all times. Without these facilities, children can’t maintain good hygiene and get sick more often, which makes them lose valuable time for school and play.
For East Meets West Foundation (EMW), helping these kids means ensuring their schools have adequate toilets, sinks with readily available soap, and a reliable safe water source. This is why we depend on partners like Mast Cares that focuses on building such infrastructure, which meet government and global standards. They’ve been our partner since 2015, supporting us as we bring our integrated water, sanitation, hygiene, and deworming program in schools. Through their generous support, school children in 47 Vietnamese schools have adequate facilities that keep them healthy.
In December 2018, Mast Cares provided 15 Phu Yen schools – seven elementary schools in Son Hoa district and eight primary schools in Tay Hoa district – with:
Through this initiative, 34,151 young ones, along with 1,538 teachers and school staff, have the supplies they need to stay healthy. Handwashing stations with soap along with fun and colorful reminders to use them help reinforce the essential hygiene habits that these kids will use for a lifetime.
As EMW expands this work to other schools, we’re grateful for having partners like Mast Cares join us. Our collective effort with dedicated partners like them can help more schools help raise healthier and more responsible children.
At the heart of our programs are strong partnerships with government, private sector, civil society groups, and local communities. We also implement learning and feedback strategies to strengthen our approaches to promoting gender and socially inclusive WASH practices in our partner communities.