To Play Is To Learn: WASH Instruction in Kenya


“I have learned that dirty hands will make me sick.” This is what Special Olympics Kenya athlete Habiba Noor learned from participating in sports.

It’s not what one would normally expect to learn from your football coach, but when the sports field is your classroom, there are few better places to learn about water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) practices.

Special Olympics and the Global Water Challenge teamed up to ensure lessons like these reached children with and without intellectual disabilities (ID) and their families in the arid counties of northern Kenya. Known for their nomadic lifestyle, people there are at increased risk of waterborne diseases due to water scarcity and cultural myths around the use of toilet systems.

Globally, 2 billion people do not have access to sanitation and approximately 700 million do not have access to clean water, resulting in 3.4 million related deaths annually.