Scale Africa Inc.

SCALEAfrica Announces WiSH Initiative at 2016 CGI Annual Meeting

09/19/2016, 10:00

Cgi Annual Meeting 2013 0926 09.29.00 Hrc Photo Line Erinn Mc Gurn

SCALEAfrica Announces WiSH Initiative: Increasing Access to Education For Girls in Zambia Through WASH (Water, Sanitation, & Hygiene)


Contact: Erinn McGurn, AIA, Executive Director,

New York, New York (September 19, 2016)—At the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative, SCALEAfrica announced a Commitment to Action to survey and assess all twenty-eight community schools with respect to sanitation and water infrastructure in Mambwe District, Eastern Province, Zambia. The commitment would aim to demolish or rehabilitate existing girls' sanitation blocks and construct new sanitation facilities that are designed to reflect the physical and emotional needs of adolescent girls in rural areas. Where necessary, water infrastructure would be repaired or constructed. Programs on hygiene and menstrual hygiene management (MHM), as well as community engagement to encourage adoption, will be implemented at each community school. 

The purpose of SCALEAfrica’s new WiSH Initiative is to ensure every community school in Mambwe District has access to clean water, girl-centered sanitation and basic hygiene and MHM programs, reaching approximately 4845 students, and increasing girls' participation in and completion of primary school.

In Zambia, lack of safe, healthy sanitation facilities and clean water sources are a major prohibiting factor in girls attending and completing primary school. Typical existing sanitation infrastructure is not girl-centric and does not allow for the privacy, safety, or personal hygiene necessary for girls to feel supported in their school environment. Abandoned pit latrines are often places where sexual violence is committed, creating larger public and mental health crises. Girls disproportionately bear the burden of carting often contaminated water many kilometers, causing them to miss school and putting them at greater risk for sexual assault. Contaminated water is frequently the source of diarrheal disease that further disrupts their educational advancement.

This commitment expands upon SCALEAfrica's 2013 CGI Commitment to Action “Building Futures,” which now stands as Zambia’s first sustainably-designed, technology-based primary school, by replicating the infrastructure groundwork of what has been achieved at the Vinza Community School at twenty-eight new sites. In shifting to a comprehensive public health and WASH initiative, SCALEAfrica will bring safe sanitation, clean water, and public health programming as a first and necessary step to further rural community school development in Mambwe District. By increasing girls' access to education through WASH, providing health programming, lessening opportunity for violence against girls, and in turn bolstering enrollment and attendance, the WiSH Initiative aims to become a model for rural school development that integrates the unique needs of girls from the outset.

WiSH Initiative FACT SHEET

• Build 28 new girl-centric sanitation facilities and wells in Eastern Province, Zambia
• Provide over 300 new construction jobs in the community, with a goal of 50% participation by women
• Integrate lessons on health, hygiene, and MHM

• Built using local labor/suppliers, locally-sourced and renewable materials
• Employing passive and technology-driven strategies for lighting, ventilation, and decomposition
• Gravity-fed plumbing to ensure handwashing and basic hygiene necessities are met
• Green buildings act as a learning tool and reinforcement of the school community’s role in conservation

• Access to safe sanitation and clean water is a human right
• Lack of access to water and sanitation disproportionately affects girls and women
• With well-designed environments and 21st century resources, Zambian students can be educated out of a life of poverty and armed with applicable knowledge and tools to thrive
• Educated children will grow to solve global problems and create change in their own communities