The Mongolia WASH Program

WASH Program for School Children – World Vision Australia

World Vision is an international organization focused on humanitarian aid and development issues that works through local offices in nearly 100 countries around the world. It is currently assisting more than 100 million people on a wide variety of problems including poverty and hunger.

In addition to delivering relief services, World Vision also focuses on larger issues of community development and advocacy for the poor towards the end of helping poor children and their families build a sustainable future. This project seeks to enhance educational opportunities for young children in Mongolia by improving their access to drinking water, sanitation services and health education at school.

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World Vision has partnered with communities in the Zavkhan and Bayakhongor provinces of Mongolia where the toilet facilities in schools are so poor that children often choose to relieve themselves behind the school buildings. Available school toilets are outdoor pit latrines, which, in a country where the winter temperatures plunge as low as -40 degrees Celsius, all too often are impractical to use and unsanitary. In addition, there is not always a clean water supply available for children to drink from or wash their hands with. The conditions mean that the school grounds are polluted with waste and thus promoting the spread of infectious diseases among the schoolchildren.

In order to counter these problems, World Vision has partnered with local schools to build indoor toilet facilities, including seated flushing toilets, hand washing sinks and sewerage systems. This project will enable students to stay out of the cold weather by providing safe toilets along with adequate washing facilities. Hygiene education will also be introduced into the school curriculum to ensure proper sanitation practices while access to clean drinking water will also be installed where needed.

One of the major challenges of implementing projects in these communities is the difficulty maintaining existing infrastructure in light of the extreme isolation and weather events. After reaching nearly 20,000 schoolchildren and teaching staff with their infrastructure and educational interventions during the pilot phase of the project, World Vision intends to use the revenues from WBCs to maintain and expand these activities over time.