Gender differences related to WASH in schools and educational efficiency

Dorice Agol
Independent Consultant, Nairobi, Kenya; agoldorice@hotmail.com

Peter Harvey
UNICEF, Copenhagen, Denmark; pharvey@unicef.org

ABSTRACT: Understanding Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in schools from gender perspectives is fundamental in development. This paper tests the hypothesis that improved WASH in schools can lead to educational efficiency and progression especially for teenage girls. The hypothesis was tested using quantitative data collected through an Education Management Information System (EMIS) for just over 10,000 schools in Zambia, Southern Africa. Relationships between WASH provision in schools and repetition and drop-out ratios were investigated, disaggregated by gender and grade. The analysis revealed that lack of WASH leads to high rates of repetition and dropout in school for girls, compared to boys especially from the age of 13 and in grades 6, 7 and 8. This affirms the importance of providing adequate supply of WASH facilities in schools to facilitate educational efficiency and progression of girls.

KEYWORDS: WASH in schools, education, gender, Zambia