HALF of girls who drop out of school do so because of poor water supply, sanitation and hygiene while ten per cent do not attend school during menstruation.
The Deputy Minister for Health and Social Welfare, Dr Seif Rashid, said in Dar es Salaam that despite the success in increasing student enrolment, the dropout rate is 33 per cent with significant higher rates for girls and pupils with disabilities.
The deputy minister was speaking during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the Stanbic Bank Tanzania in the city yesterday. The MoU for a project worth 250m/- will address the scarcity of clean water for schools.
Dr Rashid noted that the project would facilitate the National Sanitation Campaign which was introduced to improve water, sanitation and hygiene in schools (School WASH) as well as in communities. The Chairman of the Stanbic Bank Board of Directors, Mr Hatibu Senkoro, said his organisation's contribution would be channelled through the national programme to support a full School WASH package in three schools selected by the government and UNICEF.
"For us, this is a perfect example of how the private sector, the government and NGOs work together for the good of the community," he said. Mr Senkoro pointed out that the money would go towards scaling up affordable, good quality, girl and child friendly, sustainable school water and hygiene. He also pointed out that an average of 2,400 primary school children stand to benefit from the programme.
Dr Jama Gulaid who is the UNICEF Representative in Tanzania, said the project is a result of findings of a 2009 assessment of water situation in public and private schools in 16 districts including Temeke municipality. "The assessment revealed that 56 school children shared one drop hole. The situation was much worse in densely populated areas such as Temeke," he said.