Tag Archives: WASH in schools

Equity of Access to WASH in Schools: A Comparative Study of Policy and Service Delivery

Equity of Access to WASH in Schools: A Comparative Study of Policy and Service Delivery in Kyrgyzstan, Malawi, the Philippines, Timor-Leste, Uganda and Uzbekistan.

Emory University; Unicef.

EXCERPTS: Equity_of_Access_to_WASH_in_SchoolsUnderstanding the mechanisms by which children are excluded from WASH in Schools is essential to ensuring adequate and equitable access for all school-aged children.

‘Equity of Access to WASH in Schools’ presents findings from a six-country study conducted by UNICEF and the Center for Global Safe Water at Emory University. This research was carried out in collaboration with UNICEF country offices in Kyrgyzstan, Malawi, the Philippines, Timor-Leste, Uganda and Uzbekistan and their partners. The six case studies presented together contribute to the broader understanding of inequities in WASH in Schools access by describing various dimensions that contribute to equitable or
inequitable access across regions, cultures, gender and communities.

The researchers identified key dimensions of equity through formative investigations that included discussions with service delivery providers and policymakers. In some countries, inequity existed but was found to be linked to poverty and the prioritization of other health and development objectives, rather than a specific policy. In other cases, some dimensions could not be fully investigated, usually due to lack of data. Because it was not feasible to explore every equity dimension in each of the six countries, focus areas were prioritized for each case study.

Some dimensions were found to be relevant across country contexts. Limited access to WASH in Schools compromised children’s health, educational attainment and well-being, and exacerbated already existing inequities and challenges in each of the countries.

Gender was identified as a key aspect of inequity in all six countries, but the mechanisms and manifestations of gender inequities varied within each context. Menstruating girls in Malawi and Uganda faced consistent challenges in obtaining adequate access to WASH in Schools facilities, preventing them
from comfortably practising proper hygiene. In this context, a lack of access to school WASH facilities is a potential cause of increased drop-out rates. Girls in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan were affected by the poor maintenance of facilities and lack of privacy, rather than by overall lack of basic access. In these settings, lack of doors and private latrine stalls, coupled with proximity to boys’ latrines, led to girls avoiding the use of school WASH facilities, which may have deleterious health effects.

Accessibility of WASH facilities for children with disabilities was identified as an issue in all countries. In Malawi and Uganda, concerted effort has been made to include school sanitation, water and hand-washing facilities appropriate for children with disabilities. The designs for facilities, however, were often found to inadequately address students’ needs, and hand-washing facilities remain largely inaccessible, compromising students’ health.

WASH in Schools e-debate results feed into key international working groups


From September to November 2012, IRC hosted three e-debates around topics inspired by the SWASH+ Project, an action-research school WASH project in Kenya.

The results from the debates have infiltrated key international working groups. These include the JMP Post-2015 Working Groups, the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA) and the UNICEF WASH in schools working group.

The three e-debates attracted 27 participants who submitted 31 arguments in total.

The e-debate questions were:

  • Are the JMP Post-2015 indicators on WASH in schools a step in the right direction?
  • Does external funding for WASH in Schools undermine national & local commitment?
  • Will local governments ever be able to meet policy obligations?

Read the full summary report at:  http://www.washinschools.info/page/2396

Webinar: WASH in Schools, 13 December 2012

Webinar: WASH in Schools

National Policy Changed by WASH in Schools Research

Date: Thursday 13 December 2012

Time: 14:30 – 15:30 CET (Central European Time)
19:00 – 20:00 New Delhi
16:30 – 17:30 Nairobi
08:30 – 09:30 New York


Mamita Bora Thakkar, UNICEF India
Brooks Keene and Jason Oyugi, CARE

Whether you like it or not, governments have a role to play in effective implementation of WASH in Schools programmes. This webinar will explore how national policy is influenced by the work of UNICEF in India and SWASH+ in Kenya.

Combining experiences in Kenya and India, the webinar aims to do three things:

  • examine how UNICEF India supports the Indian government in identifying and overcoming obstacles that prevent the achievement of sustainable WASH in Schools
  • explore how the SWASH+ research helped change the national policy on school WASH in Kenya
  • provide insights into how best to track progress and results.

Register herehttps://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/428349031

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.

Space is limited so please reserve your Webinar seat on time if you want to participate.


Contact organisers

Ingeborg Krukkert, IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre

Malaika Cheney-Choker, CARE USA

Will local governments ever be able to meet policy obligations for WASH in schools? Join the debate!

You are invited to join the 3rd and final e-debate on WASH in Schools, inspired by lessons from the SWASH+ Project.  It is taking place from 5-23 November at: http://washurl.net/fzute8

The focus on this last e-debate is on whether local governments will or will not be able to generate enough resources to meet their policy obligations for water supply, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in schools.

Under genuine decentralization, local government can meet their policy obligations says Senior Programme Officer Dr. V. Kurian Baby in his opening argument.   Ex-national coordinator Sanitation & Hygiene from UNICEF India Sumita Ganguly takes the opposite position, arguing that local government will not prioritize WASH in schools in a resource competitive environment.

Add you own arguments to this debate. For more information go to:

External funding for WASH in Schools does not necessarily undermine national & local commitment

A narrow majority of participants in an e-debate did not think that external funding for WASH in Schools undermines national and local commitment. From 1 – 12 October 2012, 15 participants discussed the issue of external funding in the second of three e-debates inspired by questions asked during the implementation of the SWASH+ Project, an action-research school WASH project in Kenya.

There were some interesting points that came out and the discussion ended with a score of seven that agreed that external funding for WASH in Schools undermines national and local commitment, while eight disagreed with the statement.

Continue reading

Does external funding for WASH in Schools undermine national and local commitment? Join the debate

You are invited to join the second in a series of three e-debates on WASH in Schools, inspired by lessons from the SWASH+ Project. It will take place from 1-5 October on  ircwash.createdebate.com

The key question that we are raising in this e-debate is:  When NGOs, donors and other stakeholders fund direct delivery of school WASH services do they undermine the commitment of national governments and communities to do so?

Continue reading

The JMP Post-2015 indicators on WASH in schools are a step in the right direction

The JMP Post-2015 Working Groups have proposed targets and indicators for WASH in schools to be included in future global monitoring of water, sanitation and hygiene. Have they got it right or should they start again from scratch? Overall, most participants in an e-debate on this topic think that they did get it right, but that the indicators still needed refining to make them really useful and easy to monitor.

Continue reading

Join the e-debate: Are the JMP Post-2015 indicators on WASH in Schools a step in the right direction?

Do you want to influence the global Post-2015 WASH agenda? Do you want to ensure that WASH in Schools gets the prominence it deserves? If you do, then join the e-debate on the JMP Post-2015 indicators for WASH in schools. The results will serve as an input for the public consultation of the JMP Post-2015 Working Groups, which ends on September 20, 2012.

The e-debate starts 3 September and is this first in a series of three on WASH in Schools scheduled for the coming months. The topics are inspired by questions asked during the implementation of the SWASH+ project, an action-research school WASH project in Kenya.

How can you join in?

  1. First have a look at the WASH in Schools-related targets, goals and indicators listed on www.washinschools.info/page/2034
  2. Go to the e-debate page on CreateDebate.com using this link: washurl.net/bg3fhz. If you are new to CreateDebate.com, you will need to create a (free) account.
  3. Make sure you include your function title and organisation in your online profile so that people know who you are.
  4. Add your argument to the debate or write a rebuttal. You can link to another website as evidence for your argument or embed a relevant video.
  5. You can add as many arguments as you like but you can only cast one vote for each argument (you can change your vote).
  6. Remember to keep discussions civilised. We will observe a zero tolerance policy for abusive language.

This first e-debate runs until Friday 14 September, after which we will post a summary of the outcome on www.washinschools.info and submit it to Post-2015 discussion forum on www.wssinfo.org

Make your voice heard and join in on washurl.net/bg3fhz!

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)

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading