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Watsan education kit

"... the most deadly biological weapon of mass destruction ever known is human excrement - shit - which, along with a lack of safe water, is the world's number one health problem." - excerpt from WSSCC web site

more information | Need for addressing young people | Who's using this kit?

Watsan kit

This Water Sanitation and Hygiene education kit has been developed to complement projects aimed at providing water and sanitation hardware to schools and communities.

The curriculum and methodology is based on the premise that it is necessary for users to be informed, involved, and to share a sense of ownership and responsibility towards water and sanitation systems.


  • To listen to people’s beliefs and perceptions and address them through dialogue

  • To discuss life saving messages; explore practical issues related to water, sanitation and hygiene

  • To help relate these issues to daily life, practices at home, and to examine the need for behaviour change

About the kit

The kit has been designed primarily for use in rural schools, though it can also be used with women and community groups. The curriculum is structured around 6 participatory sessions. In case of use in communities, the sessions can be telescoped into a 2-day-workshop format, with emphasis on specific areas of understanding.

The 6 sessions are focused on these key messages and actions:


Session topic

Key Message

Key Action


Watsan & Health Overview

The water, sanitation and hygiene conditions of our village affect our health

Being able to identify actions / practices that affect our health



Safe disposal of faeces can help prevent the transmission of diseases. Using a latrine is the best way

Learning how to maintain our sanitation facility


Hand washing

Washing our hands with soap (or ash) and water especially after contact with faeces; before eating or feeding kids is an important way to prevent the transmission of diseases

Preventing worm infestation; How to wash hands



Only water from safe source should be used. Water containers should be covered and kept clean

Protecting our water source



Food preparation areas and containers should be kept clean. Household waste should be disposed of safely

Learning how to store food; keep kitchen clean and dispose garbage safely


Gender Issues

Women are more affected by lack of water / sanitation facilities. Burden on women can be reduced if men share household tasks and responsibilities for the well being of the family

Boys and girls sharing household tasks

In a typical classroom scenario, the students are divided into groups of 5 - 6 members each. The activities are all group based, with different groups competing and learning from each other. The role of the facilitator is to guide debates and discussions around the key messages.

Each kit contains material so that up to 5 groups can be engaged at one time. Using an additional kit, a teacher can use this methodology effectively in a class of up to 50 students.

What the Kit Contains


kit container : A3 transparent plastic folder

watsan kit


5 copies of 20 page full colour laminated workbooks

These workbooks contain pictorial problems and puzzles for groups to solve, demanding little or no literacy from students. Each activity is aimed at initiating a discussion around a specific issue.

Instructions and answers are provided for the facilitator to explain the activities and sum up the key messages.

Watsan Extras English (211 KB)   download
Watsan Workbook English (923 KB)   download preview
Watsan Workbook Bengali (6.6 MB)   download
Watsan Workbook Hindi (1 MB)   download
Watsan Workbook Assamese (1.4 MB)   download

reusable workbooks

Set of Picture Cards and Cloth Hanger

set of 24 numbered laminated picture cards and a 2'x3' cloth frame with colour coded buttons to hang cards

These cards are used along with the cloth hanger for activities like sorting, matching, completing a story. These activities are adapted from the PHAST methodology.
cloth hanger

picture cards



5 sets of dice and counters, a pair of red goggles

These are accessories necessary for the some of the activities that the students engage in.

goggles and counters

Who is using this kit ?


As of 2005, the Watsan Education Kit is being used in projects run by Water For People in South 24 Parganas and Midnapur districts of West Bengal, India.

The WFP project is aimed at providing well designed toilets and wash stations to schools and communities.

NGO partners in these districts are working through more than 30 local schools, training themselves and the teachers in the participatory methodology.

One of the partners is involved with women's self help groups in Sagar, a remote island near the Sunderban region.

The kit was tested in a rural schools with students of different age groups. Later, teachers and peer educators were trained in the methodology in one platform

testing the kit with young students

testing the kit with older students

training of school teachers

training of teachers and peer educators

More Information on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

  • Out of every ten people in the world today, four do not have adequate sanitation and two do not have access to clean water. Women and children living in the worlds poorest communities often spend hours each day walking miles to collect dirty and unsafe water. Without sanitation communities are further exposed to disease and the lack of privacy required for dignity.
  • Diseases related to unsafe sanitation and water cause the death of a child every 15 seconds. Yet, while deadly, these diseases are easily preventable. All that is needed is clean water, sanitation and good hygiene.

The Problem in India

statistics from WHO/UNICEF, 2001
  • 171 million people in India do not have access to safe water. They access water from unprotected and open wells, ponds, springs or from water tanks and trucks.
  • Over 750 million people in India (72% of the population) do not have access to proper sanitation facilities. They defecate in the open or use rudimentary or open pit latrines.
  • Poor hygiene result in over 5 lakh children dying every year due to diarrhoea.

Why should we address young people and schools?

  • 50% of ailments found in children are due to unsanitary conditions and lack of personal hygiene.
  • Badly maintained or non existent school sanitation and hygiene facilities result in schools become risky places where diseases are transmitted.
  • After the family, schools are most important places of learning for children; they have a central place in the community. Schools are a stimulating learning environment for children and can initiate change. If sanitary facilities in schools are available, they can act as a model, and teachers can function as role models.
  • Children also have important roles in the household, taking care of younger brothers and sisters and depending on the culture, they may also question existing practices in the household.
  • Children are also agents of change. By focusing on school aged children, giving them tools and knowledge to change behaviour today, future generations will be better prepared to care for their families and communities' own health and clean environment.


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