Improving access to safe water and sanitation in Costa Rican schools

By United Nations Office for Project Services

Improving access to safe water and sanitation in Costa Rican schools

In Costa Rica, many schools lack access to water, sanitation and hygiene services. In more vulnerable areas, services don’t meet the needs of entire communitiess.

As part of a pilot project, UNOPS is helping to improve access to basic services in 11 schools in the area between Cariari and Barra del Colorado in Costa Rica’s Limón Province. The schools were identified based on a range of factors including low-income living conditions, number of migrants, level of need for humanitarian assistance and climate change vulnerability.

“This initiative will not only bring water, hygiene and health to educational centres, but also hope for children and families who aspire for new opportunities and a better present, and future, thanks to education,” said Patricia Portela de Souza – UNICEF representative in Costa Rica.

“Access to clean water and environmental sanitation is an essential right that contributes significantly to the fulfillment of the right to quality education and the inclusion of populations that are in especially vulnerable conditions,” added Ms. Portela de Souza.

UNOPS provided technical advice to UNICEF and the Ministry of Public Education to identify service issues and designed resilient hydro-sanitation infrastructure solutions for the schools.

Together with UNICEF, UNOPS further helped develop and implement a methodology to prioritize schools, focusing on those with a high student population and where opportunities to use resources efficiently were available. Local contractors have been hired to begin implementing the improvements in 11 schools.

“The safe provision of water, sanitation and hygiene is essential in the return to school in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Alejandro Rossi, UNOPS Representative in Costa Rica.

Funded by UNICEF and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, the project is helping to reduce inequalities and enhance access to quality education.