How a toilet can help keep children in school

In rural communities in the Solomon Islands, clean water and toilets can be hard to come by.

The numbers are stark. Fewer than four in every five children here have a toilet at home and most schools lack these facilities as well.

A lack of access to water and toilets can seriously interfere with children’s education.

Due to a lack of education on good hygiene practices many children miss school regularly due to bouts of diarrhoea. Girls often drop out of school when they reach puberty because of embarrassment and the lack of private places to maintain their dignity.

Mr Eddie Gideon, the principal of a rural school, has seen the problems first-hand. He used to be concerned that his students would miss classes as they needed to walk to the river for drinking water or into the bush if they needed to use the toilet while at school.

Fortunately the community has partnered with the Honiara School Water Sanitation and Hygiene project to build water and toilet facilities for the students and the surrounding community to use.

Having access to clean water and toilets has meant the students can spend more time in class. They’ve also learned about basic hygiene practices. At school, the students now wash their hands after using the bathroom and before eating – and they’re sharing these habits with their families.

“Now the children are looking much healthier than they used to and there is less sickness and skin diseases,” says Mr Gideon.

So far three schools have participated in the Water Sanitation and Hygiene project and many more have expressed their interest. The school WASH project was made possible due to a partnership between World Vision Australia, DFAT and the Solomon Islands Government.

With the help of donations from people like you World Vision is helping schools and their surrounding communities improve their water, sanitation and hygiene practices with life-changing results.

How you can help

The Honiara Water Sanitation and Hygiene project is a part of World Vision’s work in the Pacific region in partnership with DFAT. According to World Vision estimates, last year Australian overseas aid helped 440,000 people gain access to clean water. 

You can learn more about Australian overseas aid and show your support by joining the campaign for Australian aid.

Having access to clean water and toilets makes it easier for children to stay in school. Photo: Christina Muge/World Vision