SWASH+ to Bring Water and Sanitation to 150 Schools in Central America

With new funds from the Inter-American Development Bank and The Coca-Cola Foundation, Water For People and its partners will expand SWASH+ (School Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Education Plus Community Impact) program.

More than 15,000 students at 150 schools in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua will soon benefit from safe drinking water, restroom facilities, and improved hygiene education.

Water For People will continue to spearhead the SWASH+ program under the Millennium Water Alliance in partnership with CARE and Catholic Relief Services. To date, the program has benefited 17,331 students in 152 schools.

“We are excited to continue to lead SWASH+ efforts in Central America by supporting 65 additional schools and communities in Guatemala,” said Ned Breslin, chief executive officer of Water For People. “This initiative helps our program in Guatemala drive toward full water and sanitation coverage in the municipalities we support.”

In each school supported by the program, the groups train the Parent-Teacher Association and school director to build a water supply system. Training on water treatment is also provided. The community helps to build or renovate school restrooms.

“We continue to require co-financing from local governments and communities as a key part of this initiative,” continued Breslin. “This unique partnering approach is a key to creating local ownership and strengthening the culture of payment necessary for sustainable water and sanitation services.”

Parents and students also participate in hygiene training that emphasizes the importance of handwashing to prevent disease. “The simple act of handwashing has been proven to be the most cost-effective health intervention possible,” said Mark Duey, SWASH+ Program coordinator. “Our partners are working with local teachers to ensure that students adopt this practice, and that they take it home with them every day. We’re planting the seeds for a hygiene revolution in Central America.”

UNICEF, ITT and the Global Water Challenge have also been key supporters of the SWASH+ program.

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