ROCS’ focus resources on improving the health of school-aged children, highlighting the need for hygiene promotion, life skills development and water, sanitation and hand-washing facilities in schools.

School environments, just like any other environment, is a social determinant of health and determines children’s health and well-being. Although water and sanitation facilities in schools are increasingly recognised as fundamental for promoting good hygiene behaviour and children’s well-being, many schools have very poor facilities. Conditions vary from inappropriate and inadequate sanitary facilities to the outright lack of latrines and safe water for drinking and hygiene. This situation contributes to absenteeism and the high drop-out rates, especially among girls.

Schools are a key factor for initiating change by helping to develop useful life skills in health and hygiene. Children are often eager to learn and willing to absorb new ideas. Hygiene behaviour learned at school can lead to lifelong positive habits not only for the children but also for the community. Teachers can function as role models. School children can influence the behaviour of family members - both adults and younger siblings.

ROCS believes that it is more effective to work with children in school-based programmes than with adults. ROCS, together with its partners is involved in many different programmes to improve sanitation and promote hygiene in schools and communities. The process will be scaled up in the next five years.