Tag Archives: SWASH+

SWASH+ Website Launch – 6 Years of School WASH Research Have Come Together!

From: Julie Straw, MPH
CARE USA Water Team

SWASH+ is an action-research and advocacy project focused on increasing the scale, impact and sustainability of school water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) interventions in Kenya. Since September 2006, SWASH+ has collaborated with teachers and students in 185 primary schools in four districts in Nyanza Province, Kenya to identify challenges and analyze innovative solutions for sustaining school WASH. The project’s randomized controlled trials and numerous sub-studies have resulted in a compendium of research publications, one-page research summaries, stories from the field, photo essays and short films now available for the public on the new SWASH+ website.

Six years of research was not conducted to simply share findings among academics and non-government organizations; from day 1 the project was designed with a strong advocacy-for-policy-change to reach successful implementation of school WASH throughout Kenya. The Government of Kenya has been a key contributor and the ultimate target audience for the lessons and recommendations from the SWASH+ project.

This research-based advocacy approach has led to wide-spread change across Kenya. SWASH+ research directly contributed to the Kenya’s Ministry of Education decision to double funding for school WASH ($840,000/year) with potentially more to come.  This increase makes a difference in whether or not a school is able to purchase consumables such as soap, WaterGuard for treating water, and latrine cleaning supplies – thus affecting student wellbeing and attendance. Research also brought national attention to the menstrual hygiene needs of young women in Kenya, resulting in Kenyan government allocation of $3.4 million for sanitary pads for school girls this year. SWASH+ research also impacted the adoption of new curriculum and…(want to read more? Check out the new SWASH+ website)

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Kenya – WASH in Schools Lessons Learned

Source – WASHfunders Blog, Aug 17, 2012

Editor’s Note: This guest post was authored by Malaika Cheney-Coker, the learning and influencing advisor of the Water Team at CARE USA. Her work includes support on internal and external communications, the application and use of monitoring and evaluation tools, and technical guidance on learning strategies and activities within partnership programs of the Water Team. In this post, Malaika discusses the implications of a school WASH project study on action-research projects.

In the summer of 2007, SWASH+, a school WASH project in Nyanza Province, Kenya, with a large and complex research operation, conducted a small study. The study was a simple identification of the recurrent costs needed to pay for materials and for labor to maintain and repair water containers, stands, taps, and to re-purchase soap and water purification items. Very different from the larger randomized controlled trials and studies being conducted by the project, this study  cost little and did not require a large research team (it was conducted by a graduate student over the course of a summer) or complex design and analysis. However, the findings of this simple cost research were immediately adopted by the Ministry of Education and resulted in a doubling of the Ministry’s Free Primary Education allotment for electricity, water, and conservancy — a budget line item that schools have traditionally used to pay for WASH costs.

Parent volunteer helps monitor school WASH conditions by ensuring soapy water is available for hand-washing, drinking water is treated, and latrines are clean. Credit: CARE / Brendan Bannon, Kenya, 2012

From this experience, the SWASH+ team gained some important insights into how action-research projects can achieve results:

  • Various forms of inquiry are needed to produce and buttress an evolving story. The simple study on WASH costs was a logical next step after a study on the sustainability of a safe water systems pilot in 55 schools identified adequate financing as one of four domains of sustainability. A problem tree analysis also identified inadequate or poorly planned financing as a key threat to sustainability. Similarly, SWASH+ findings from a randomized controlled trial on the effects of school WASH on pupil absence provided evidence for one of the potential impacts of improved school WASH (an average of six days less of absence for school girls) and helped make the case for increasing investments in school WASH.
  • Research needs to be made available to policymakers in practical terms. The budget for operations costs drafted by SWASH+ offered specific and practical recommendations that could be more readily adopted than a general injunction to the Ministry of Education to increase its funding.
  • To make research available in practical terms, action-research organizations need to be adept at canvassing entry points and opportunities for influence. A SWASH+ review of the national school WASH strategy draft revealed that the cost estimates related to school WASH seemed arbitrary. By having had cultivated relationships within the Ministry, SWASH+ was able to point this out and suggest that these numbers be revised using figures provided by the research.

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6 years of school WASH research have come together!

SWASH+ is an action-research and advocacy project focused on increasing the scale, impact and sustainability of school water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) interventions in Kenya. Since September 2006, SWASH+ has worked in 185 primary schools in four districts in Nyanza Province, Kenya to identify challenges and analyse innovative solutions for sustaining school WASH. The project’s randomized controlled trials and numerous sub-studies have resulted in a compendium of journal articles, research reports, one-page research summaries, stories from the field, photo essays and videos now available on the new SWASH+ website.

Advocacy-for-policy-change focus

From day one the project was designed with a strong advocacy-for-policy-change focus in order to contribute to successful implementation of school WASH throughout Kenya. SWASH+ research directly contributed to the Kenya’s Ministry of Education decision to double funding for school WASH (US$ 840,000/year) with potentially more to come. SWASH+ Research also helped bring national attention to the menstrual hygiene needs of school-aged girls in Kenya, resulting in a government allocation of US$ 3.4 million for sanitary pads for school girls this year.

Now the launch of the new website brings the voices of students, teachers, staff and government officials to a global audience along with years of research and lessons learned.

Partners

The partners that form the SWASH+ consortium are CARE, Emory University, the Great Lakes University of Kisumu, the Government of Kenya, and Water.org. SWASH+ is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Global Water Challenge. The new website is created and hosted by IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre.

Translating Research into National-Scale Change: A Case Study from Kenya of WASH in Schools

Translating Research into National-Scale Change: A Case Study from Kenya of WASH in Schools, 2011. SWASH Project.

Over the past 5 years CARE, Emory University’s Center for Global Safe Water, and Water.org, through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-funded Sustaining and Scaling School Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Plus Community Impact (SWASH+) project, have worked to achieve sustainable and national-scale school WASH services in Kenya through applied research and advocacy. The project tested a multi-armed school WASH intervention through a randomized, controlled trial with multiple policy-relevant sub-studies. Research results were then used to advocate for policy change to bring about sustainable school WASH services nationally. These efforts have focused on improving budgeting for operations and maintenance costs, improving accountability systems with a focus on monitoring and evaluation, and more effectively promoting knowledge of WASH through teacher training and the national curriculum.

Advocacy objectives were developed through a problem-tree analysis and stakeholder analyses. SWASH+ used Outcome Mapping to track progress against these objectives. Specific advocacy goals were to identify important policy intervention areas, work with policymakers to update knowledge and identify learning gaps and then act as a learning adviser to the relevant ministries.

Though the project has not achieved all advocacy objectives, it can claim some advances. Lessons for effective school WASH advocacy gained from the program successes and mistakes are as follows:
1) Having a rigorous evidence base creates large amounts of credibility with policymakers.
2) Significant time and follow-up are needed as well as having staff with appropriate skills.
3) The “ripeness” of the external policy environment is crucial and can make or break efforts to affect national-scale change. Successful advocacy initiatives avoid being insular, focus on the external policy environment at the outset, assess data needs and stakeholder roles and responsibilities, and set
reasonable objectives.

Rethinking schools-based programming

“Schools are graveyards of failed infrastructure”, says Water For People CEO Ned Breslin in his blog Rising Tide on 27 August 2010. To rectify this, Water For People is now promoting integrated water and sanitation programs that cater both for schools and communities. “We don’t help a school and not help a family”.

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Central America: SWASH+ program expands to 150 more schools

Photo; Water For People

With new funds from the Inter-American Development Bank and The Coca-Cola Foundation, the SWASH+ program will provide safe drinking water, restroom facilities, and improved hygiene education to over 15,000 more students at 150 schools in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua.

SWASH+ (School Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Education Plus Community Impact) Central America is a regional of the Millennium Water Alliance (MWA) that is be implemented by the US NGOs Water For People, CARE and Catholic Relief Services. So far the program has provided school sanitation facilities to 17,331 students in 152 schools.

In Guatemala, SWASH+ is targeting 65 additional schools and communities in Guatemala. In each school, the program trains the Parent-Teacher Association and school director to build a water supply system. Training on water treatment is also provided. The community helps to build or renovate school restrooms.

Co-financing from local governments and communities is a key part of SWASH+.

Parents and students also participate in hygiene training that emphasizes the importance of handwashing to prevent disease.

UNICEF, ITT and the Global Water Challenge have also been key supporters of the SWASH+ program.

Related web site: SWASH+

Source: Water for People, 23 Aug 2010

SWASH+: School WASH website launched

The SWASH+ consortium has launched a new web site: www.swashplus.org

SWASH+ Kenya was developed from a pilot initiative funded by the Coca Cola Africa Foundation. The initiative began in 2005, when the Millennium Water Alliance, CARE, Water.org (formerly Water Partners International), and Kenya-based SANA implemented a school and community WASH project. SWASH+ Kenya’s current partners are CARE, Emory University’s Center for Global Safe Water, Water.org, and the Kenya Water and Health Organisation. It is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Global Water Challenge.

SWASH+ Central America, launched in early 2008 and based in part upon SWASH+ Kenya, is the first regional program of the Millennium Water Alliance (MWA), a group of 11 US-based NGOs that work in the WASH sector. The project is being implemented in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua, by MWA partners CARE, Catholic Relief Services, and Water For People. The project is coordinated by the Millennium Water Program Secretariat, which is hosted by Water For People in the Regional Office for Central America in Honduras. It is funded by each partner, Global Water Challenge, UNICEF, ITT Corporation, and other key donors including national and local municipal governments.

As a learning project, SWASH+ in Kenya focused on gathering data on the impact of school WASH interventions on schools and communities through research that included randomised controlled trials in 185 schools.

The new web site presents downloadable research reports on topics ranging from latrine maintenance, to menstrual management, to rainwater harvesting. Reports on impacts of school WASH on pupil absenteeism and links to other organisations will soon be available.

SWASH+ news updates are published in the SWASH+ blog.