© Helvetas
Burkina Faso

Health for Schoolchildren and Their Families

© Helvetas

At Burkina Faso’s so-called Écoles Bleues (“Blue Schools”), children learn a lot about the connections between hygiene and health. Then they tell their families what they have learned, thereby serving as happy health ambassadors.

  • Project Name
    Laafia – Health for Schoolchildren and Families
  • Project Phase
    2015 to 2018
  • Funding
    This project is funded by donations.
  • Thematic focus
    Water

Children bring hygiene home

Two out of three people in Burkina Faso now have access to clean drinking water. This encouriging statistic reflects progress in the country. So it is all the more surprising that, on the other hand, four out of five people there have no access to a latrine. They have to defecate in the fields or in the bushes and are often unaware that this jeopardizes the health of their own village community.

The problem is most acute in the Gnagna Province, where as many as nine in ten people have no latrine. To change that, Helvetas and local experts are turning kids into hygiene ambassadors. At school they see and use a latrine for the first time and learn to wash their hands regularly. When they get home, they talk about the newly built latrine, about washing hands, about soap, germs and how to keep water clean.

© Helvetas
A good school always includes latrines so that children don't have to do their business outdoors. © Helvetas
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© Helvetas
The school children bring the new knowledge about hygiene and health home to their families. © Helvetas
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Helvetas supports these "Écoles Bleues" and their hygiene education. Their schoolchildren are ambassadors for a better future as well. After all, clean water and hygiene are a basic precondition for a society to develop. 89 out of 1000 children in Burkina die before the age of five. And then there are all the children whose development is impaired by diarrheic diseases, as well as adults who cannot do their jobs because they are sick. But many of the diseases could be prevented with sanitary facilities and hygiene education. In our Laafia project (Laafia means “health”) 1200 children and their families in 15 villages benefit annually from this improvement in basic living conditions.

As part of the project, the local authorities receive support on ways of planning and promoting the building of latrines, while private suppliers are sensitized to the need for good products at fair prices. In parallel, various administrations and development organizations are now taking an interest in "Écoles Bleues" and the idea of turning children into health ambassadors.

© Helvetas
Clean water - the pupils learn how important this is. © Helvetas
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© Helvetas / Simon B. Opladen
Girls are often only sent to school by their parents if there are safe latrines. © Helvetas / Simon B. Opladen
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Water

The most vulnerable communities suffer from dirty and scarce water. Annually we help up to 500,000 people get new access to drinking water and basic sanitation.

How Helvetas Supports People in Burkina Faso

Helvetas promotes vocational training and improvements to the infrastructure, roads and water supply in Burkina Faso.