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Author Notes:

Correspondence: ktalexander@care.org; Tel.: +1-404-979-9494 Current email address: alex.mwaki@gmail.com.

Matthew C. Freeman and Malaika Cheney-Coker conceived and designed the study; Alex Mwaki and Dorothy Adhiambo collected and quality-checked the data; Kelly T. Alexander and Alex Mwaki analyzed the data; Richard Muga, Kelly T. Alexander and Matthew C. Freeman wrote the manuscript.

We are also grateful for the time and efforts of Leah Rotich, Director General, Ministry of Education, Science and Technology of the Government of Kenya who helped to push forward an increased school budget for WASH.

We thank each of the teachers at all the schools we visited, Fund Account Managers of CDF, Program Officers of school WASH actors and shop owners for giving us their time and allowing us to disrupt their day.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


Research Funding:

The authors would like to thank the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for their generous support of this work.


  • life-cycle cost
  • school
  • WASH
  • ssutainability

The Life-Cycle Costs of School Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Access in Kenyan Primary Schools


Journal Title:

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health


Volume 13, Number 7


, Pages 637-637

Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF


Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programs in schools can increase the health, dignity and comfort of students and teachers. Understanding the costs of WASH facilities and services in schools is one essential piece for policy makers to utilize when budgeting for schools and helping to make WASH programs more sustainable. In this study we collected data from NGO and government offices, local hardware shops and 89 rural primary schools across three Kenyan counties. Current expenditures on WASH, from school and external (NGO, government, parent) sources, averaged 1.83 USD per student per year. After reviewing current expenditures, estimated costs of operations and maintenance for bringing schools up to basic WASH standards, were calculated to be 3.03 USD per student per year. This includes recurrent costs, but not the cost of installing or setting up WASH infrastructure, which was 18,916 USD per school, for a school of 400 students (4.92 USD per student, per year). These findings demonstrate the need for increases in allocations to schools in Kenya, and stricter guidance on how money should be spent on WASH inputs to enable all schools to provide basic WASH for all students.

Copyright information:

© 2016 by the authors

This is an Open Access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
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