Developing Countries: Sanitation

Department for International Development written question – answered on 25th November 2015.

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Photo of Madeleine Moon Madeleine Moon Chair, Defence Sub-Committee, Chair, Defence Sub-Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment she has made of the relationship between clean water and sanitation in schools and girls' school attendance in developing countries; and if she will make a statement.

Photo of Grant Shapps Grant Shapps The Minister of State, Department for International Development

Clean water and adequate sanitation in schools ensure safe and hygienic environments for learning. The UK Government supports the view that providing toilets at schools for girls is necessary to provide privacy and dignity. There is some evidence that WASH interventions in schools do improve attendance by girls but much evidence points to other important factors as well.

In 2011, DFID published a systematic review of this issue. This determined that separate facilities for girls were likely to encourage their attendance at school, but insufficient alone to increase attendance and that there are many influential factors, including social and economic pressures on poor families. DFID therefore takes a holistic approach to this issue.

The UK played a key role in ensuring that the recently agreed Sustainable Development Goals include a dedicated goal on water which aims to ensure universal access to water and sanitation by 2030.

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