School health club/ WASH club formation and activities

Q: I am looking for information on School health clubs, how to set up a school health club and what activities they could carry out.

Answer: Through a search on our site school AND club on our site you can find quite a few news items and short features on school health clubs.

Here are the headlines of the first nine from Sudan, Uganda, Kenya and Sierra Leone. To give you some pointers on School health club/ WASH club formation and activities I copied below some relevant text from the first two items.

Sudan: school clubs and good-hygiene campaigns

The students in the School Hygiene Club in South Kordofan, northern Sudan, are producing drama and songs with key messages on hygiene and sanitation that they will perform for about 600 other pupils and teachers. The School Hygiene Club is composed of 20 students, both boys and girls, ranging from 10 to 16 years of age. They are in charge of looking after the school’s water and sanitation facilities, and spreading hygiene messages among their peers. It is one of the 16 School Hygiene Clubs in South Kordofan set up with support from UNICEF to improve hygiene and health for the children and families of South Kordofan.

Diary from the field – Uganda – 5: “School Sanitation in Bisozi Primary School”

This is the fifth of a new series of stories from Uganda written by Kisembo Asuman, programme co-ordinator for the Simavi-funded water and sanitation project of the Community Empowerment Initiative (CEI). Co-facilitated by IRC and Simavi.

School sanitation club

It was 22nd August 2005 when I visited one of the primary school called Bisozi primary school where CEI has formed a school sanitation club. Bisozi primary school is located in Bisozi parish in Nkoma sub-county Kamwenge district western Uganda. The aim of the visit was to find out what progress the pupils in the school had made with the sanitation club.

CEI has done this using the small funds it had for sanitation in schools. The learning of forming clubs was raised from the symposium organised by IRC in Delft, the Netherlands, which took place in June 2004 where I as a programme coordinator of CEI participated. I came up with an idea of forming sanitation clubs in one sub-county, since CEI does not have funds to cover all areas of operation.

So when I visited one of the schools I happened to meet the head teacher by the name of Kwizera Fred who could explain to me more about the feeling of the idea I brought to his school, what has been changed with the pupils. He went ahead to explain as follows:

“We really appreciate to you that you brought the idea of forming sanitation clubs in this school, the club is doing well, cleaning around the school especially cleaning latrines and hence influencing other pupils to do and not seeing cleaning as a punishment or a burden as they were seeing at first.

Only I request you to provide some training to build more capacity of this club and provide charts with pictures, which can be distributed to pupils then taken to their parents for the purpose of learning. We need CEI to assist us with some more hand washing facilities because the ones provided by UNICEF are getting old.

Furthermore, we also have a time table which the pupils use to clean the facilities. Each class has a sanitation group when all those groups are joined they make a sanitation club of Bisozi Primary school.”

Female teacher recruited

The head teacher took me around, because I arrived at the right time when one group was doing sanitation work. As that is not the end of the story; the head teacher explained to me that from my advice he has gone ahead to recruit a special senior women teacher who can cater for girls on daily check up of personal hygiene including menstruation process and early pregnancy. This senior woman is qualified as a nurse, she gets a small salary from the school management.

Results from school sanitation programmes in Kenya

Girls are staying on longer in school in Kisumu District in Western Kenya, after a sustained set of activities around hygiene and sanitation. The schools have become more ‘girl-friendly’.

Ugandan symposium participant triggers sanitation action in schools

Kisembo Asuman describes how the sanitation club he proposed is doing in a rural primary school in West Uganda. The boys’ and girls’groups were cleaning their latrines and a senior newly recruited female teacher was doing her daily checks on personal hygiene. He got the idea at the 2004 school sanitation symposium at IRC.

UNICEF – Improving hygiene through ‘school-led total sanitation’ in Sierra Leone

PORT LOKO, Sierra Leone, 1 July 2009 – Practicing good hygiene is anything but a chore for the children of E.M. Primary School in Laya, in the Port Loko district of Sierra Leone.“We learn about good hygiene through games and sports,” says Fatmata, 12, a proud member of the School Health Club. “It’s a lot […]

Other selected publications

You can find more general guidance on school sanitation and hygiene education; links to other publications, manuals and tools at Most of them are freely downloadable. I again copy the most relevant headings and summaries below.

Strengthening Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Schools: A WASH guidance manual with a focus on South Asia, 09 Apr 10

Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in schools programmes are globally recognised as essential to promoting children’s right to health. This book is meant for managers and trainers involved in such programmes. It provides information on a number of essential topics and it also contains relevant activity sheets.

Integrating water, sanitation, hygiene and the environment in school education, 24 Nov 09

Good education in school about water, sanitation and hygiene is as important as good sanitary facilities: both components go hand-in-hand. In 2002, UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Programme was cooperating with over 50 countries to achieve integrated WASHE (water, sanitation, health, hygiene and environment) programmes in schools, an increase of 43% in six years. Nine years of cooperation between UNICEF and IRC have resulted in a number of lessons on effective education programmes on water supply, sanitation and hygiene, especially in primary schools. These have been summarised in a paper. This is an excerpt from a more substantial paper called Faith in Water: Water supply, sanitation and hygiene facilities and related education in faith-based schools by Annemarieke Mooyman and Christine Sijbesma.

Health education materials

Selection of web sites and publications providing health education and communication materials, and hygiene promotion materials, including audiovisuals.

Selection of references on WASH in schools, found in IRCDOC, the library database of IRC. Many of them have an abstract and a link to the full text document if available. Go to the IRCDOC selection at

WASH in Schools resources

Selection of tools and methods; guides and manuals; resource materials; and links to other relevant web sites. This link will bring you to the WASH in Schools web site. Go to the WASH in Schools selection of resources

Especially the first one is a five-page highly relevant guide discussing benefits and risks of school health groups:

Children’s health clubs in schools; opportunities and risks

Many school programs for water, sanitation and hygiene have organized special children’s groups. This paper discusses some of the benefits and risks of these school groups. The school health clubs final SSHE case study_WEB.pdf  (345 kB) is freely downloadable.

This query was answered by Dick de Jong

5 responses to “School health club/ WASH club formation and activities

  1. This is a very good move to educate future community

  2. its really challenging

  3. Iam very much impressed by the information I got on on this site about hygiene clubs. I also run a hygiene fan club in school with numerical strenghts of over 6ooo kids . our message of improve your health through good hygiene is catching fire in the city of Lagos- Nigeria.

  4. i need hygiene health club outputs, background. And activity impacts for the activity completion report of hygiene health club and hygiene quiz competetion please help me

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