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Access to clean water and sanitation

We work to ensure children and their communities have access to clean water and sanitary facilities all year around and in emergencies.  This includes conducting programmes based on evidence of success, which we can replicate and engage entire communities and their stakeholders to participate in. 

Case study: Accessing sanitation in South Asia

Plan International UK is conducting a South Asia WASH Results Programme in Pakistan and Bangladesh to improve communities’ and children’s access to sanitation and handwashing with soap in schools. 

We are working in partnership with WaterAid, Unilever, Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP), IPSOS MORI and theWater, Engineering and Development Centre (WEDC) on the project, which enables local and regional authorities to improve coordination of and funding of water, sanitation and hygiene activities, as well as ensuring hygiene becomes part of the school curriculum.

Communities are building and maintaining their own toilets and changing their hygiene behaviours positively as a result of the project, and hygiene education is implemented in schools through the School of Five Approach, which includes promoting washing hands with soap at critical times during the day.

Children washing hands in school, Pakistan, as a result of Plan International's access to water and sanitation work

Sana is a young graduate and social organiser with the project. She raises awareness around the health risks of openly defecating in fields, a common practice in the villages she works with in the Pakistan district of Umerkot. She helps the communities to plan for and build toilets, and teaches people about the importance of regularly washing their hands with soap.

“Before the project, women and children were not using soap to wash their hands and the community was very dirty,’ she explains.

Sana explains that her work was difficult to begin with, as she is a young Muslim woman and was working in a low-caste Hindu community. She had to build trust by spending long hours with the community, discussing their challenges and the ways they could find solutions to sanitation and hygiene problems.

This led to the creation of a community action plan about building toilets and being clean, which Sana made in collaboration with the community through the Village Organisation and a Community Resource Person. Sana visits regularly every couple of days to encourage the community and to discuss any problems.

Sana explains that hygiene and sanitation are special problems for women and young girls, whom she says appreciate the toilets as they allow for privacy, especially when they are menstruating.    

So far, 1,644,750 people will have access to adequate sanitation facilities by the end of 2015 and beyond, and 6,609,570 women, men and children will have access to hand washing soap by December 2015 and continue to practice hand washing with soap beyond 2015.

In the past year we have reached over 3 million children with hygiene messages on handwashing with soap, encouraged over 700,000 people to construct their own toilets and provided water to over 69,000 people in their communities.