Wednesday, 23 November 2016


The school environment refers to aspects of the school or learning space that affect both the physical and psychosocial well-being of students, teachers and other school staff. To promote psychosocial well-being, the school should be a place where all are free from fear and exploitation, where codes against misconduct exist and are enforced (Vernon et al., 2003). For physical well-being, the school should be a place where all individuals are free from danger, disease, physical harm or injury; where sufficient safe water and sanitation facilities are provided; and where physical structures (buildings, paths and latrines) are sound, welcoming and secure (Vernon et al., 2003).

Provision of safe water, sanitation and hygiene are essential first steps towards a healthy physical learning environment. The school environment can damage the health and nutritional status of students if it exposes them to hazards such as infectious diseases carried by an unsafe water supply, lack of hand washing facilities or unsanitary latrines (Koopman, 1978).
 For hygiene education to be effective, safe water, soap and adequate sanitation facilities must be made available. These in turn can reinforce the health and hygiene messages, and act as an example to both students and the wider community. They make the school more welcoming and can increase school attendance, especially among girls who require the privacy of single sex toilets (particularly during their menses) (Freeman et al., 2012).


Menstrual hygiene also has an environmental impact, in the form of a growing waste problem. In the Netherlands, this already causes problems (Vernon et al., 2003). In developing countries, which frequently have poor waste management infrastructure, this type of waste will certainly produce larger problems. For this reason, encouraging menstrual hygiene in developing countries must be accompanied with calculated waste management strategies (Vernon et al., 2003).
Attention must be paid to ensure the disposal of sanitary napkins and other protection materials hygienically and in an ecologically friendly way. The production of menstrual protection alternatives, which will not have negative environmental effects or be a hazard to the environment, must be encouraged (Freeman et al., 2012). Disposable sanitary napkins require the presence of closed waste bins or containers, which are emptied and cleaned on a regular basis, preferably located in a place that offers privacy. In several developing countries, various ecological sanitation systems (composting and burning) are used to manage waste material for menstrual hygiene. These ‘best practices’ may serve as a model (UNICEF, 2005).

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