1.1. BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
In the view of the World Health Organisation (WHO) (2007), sanitation generally refers to the provision of facilities and services for the safedisposal of human urine and faeces; and inadequate provision of these facilities is a major cause of diseases worldwide. It has been realizedthat improving sanitation is known to have a significant impact on health both in households and across communities (WHO 2007). Theword sanitation also refers to the maintenance of hygiene conditions, through services such as garbage collection and waste water disposal.UNICEF and IRC (1988) as well as Coppens (2005) consider School Sanitation and Hygiene Education (SSHE) as the combination of hardwareand software components that are necessary to produce a healthy school environment to develop or support safe hygiene behaviour. Theyare of the view that hardware components include supply of drinking water and facilities for hand washing and safe disposal of excreta andsolid waste in and around the school compound. The software components are the activities that promote conditions at schools andpractices of school staff and student that help to prevent water and sanitation related diseases and parasites. Snel (2004) and Water AidUganda (2013) indicate that health influences learning and education influences health. This is because poor sanitation causes diarrhea,which kills 1.5 million students each year. However, smart investments in sanitation can reduce disease, increase family incomes, keep girlsand boys in school, help preserve the environment, and enhance human dignity. Increasing evidence also shows that school sanitation andhygiene education programmes offer high cost benefit (Danida, 2007). Unfortunately, the promises of school health and hygiene educationprogrammes have not always been fulfilled by either the government or stakeholders in education especially in the rural communities.Many school environments in most rural communities are not safe for student due to neglect of the operation and maintenance of healthfacilities. It is believed that there has been a lack of hygiene education for the students. These schools often suffer from nonexistent orinsufficient water supply, sanitation and hand washing facilities, dirty and unsafe water supply; toilets or latrines that are not adapted to theneeds of student particularly girls; non existence and hygiene education, unhealthy and dirty classrooms and school compounds amongothers. WHO, (2007) estimates that 88% of diarrhea disease is caused by unsafe water supply and inadequate sanitation and hygiene.Many schools serve communities that have a high prevalence of diseases related to inadequate water supply, sanitation and hygiene, andwhere child malnutrition and other underlying health problems are common. Under these conditions, schools become unsafe places wherediseases are transmitted (WHO, 2013). Thus, student’s ability to learn may be affected by inadequate water, sanitation and hygieneconditions (Cairncross & Valdmanis, 2006). This can contribute to poor health which can affect student’s ability to learn and may thereforeinfluence their educational achievements and prospects in life (Clarke & King, 2004; Faheem & Yasir, 2007; ICF Macro 2010). A study byNokes, & Bundy, (2010) for example, shows that student with worm infestations have lower marks in school than non-infected student.Basically this means that student with heavy worm infestations begin at a disadvantage and have a slower start in the learning process;these students have only a few years of opportunity to benefit from a formal education. Issues of sanitation and hygiene are of criticalconcern to every nation as a whole and to schools as far as education are concerned. Visits made by researchers to some public schoolsrevealed the lack of proper health and hygiene facilities. This situation and its inherent poor hygiene practices which are not different fromwhat pertains in some rural schools in many developing nations, makes the school environment no longer a safe place for students(WHO,2009).