Despite the success of recent efforts to increase access to improved water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) globally, approximately one-third of schools around the world still lack adequate WASH services. A lack of WASH in schools can lead to the spread of preventable disease and increase school absences, especially among women. Inadequate financing and budgeting has been named as a key barrier for integrating successful and sustainable WASH programs into school settings. For this reason, the purpose of this review is to describe the current knowledge around the costs of WASH components as well as financing models that could be applied to WASH in schools. Results show a lack of information around WASH costing, particularly around software elements as well as a lack of data overall for WASH in school settings as compared to community WASH. This review also identifies several key considerations when designing WASH budgets or selecting financing mechanisms. Findings may be used to advise future WASH in school programs.
Keywords: WASH; cost; costing; developing countries; financing; school.