October 19, 2018

First ever global WASH in School report points out persistent gaps in handwashing

Written by GIZ

Three teachers looking at a mobile device

Digital Monitoring of WASH Guidelines by Teachers in Cambodia | Photo credit: GIZ

The first ever global Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Schools (WinS) report concludes that WASH is a core element of a healthy school environment and crucial to promoting school attendance. The report by the Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene led by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) was recently launched during the World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden. The report provides valuable baseline information for all participating countries. The regional Fit for School programme, implemented by GIZ in partnership with the South-East Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO) will analyse the data with all program partners in order to accelerate progress in improving coverage and quality of WinS services.

“The report shows that globally more than 30% of schools do not provide safe drinking water, one-third of schools do not provide any toilet facilities, and 900 million schoolchildren have no possibility to wash their hands with soap in school since 47% of schools do not meet the basic JMP requirement of available handwashing facilities with water and soap” said Dr Bella Monse, Senior Advisor of the regional Fit for School Programme, who joined a panel discussion during the launch event in Stockholm. “The report is an eye-opener for the world community working to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Progress is visible, but much more remains to be done to achieve SDG 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), and the WinS related indicators under SDG4 (Quality Education). Progress in both of these SDGs also has impact on SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-being), SDG 5 (Gender Equality) and SDG 10 (Reduced inequalities)”, she added.

Data from all four countries of the regional Fit for School programme are part of the report, which draws on information from altogether 152 countries. The newly established set of indicators to assess WinS in the SDG context, developed by a global working group under JMP lead, have been used for the first time. “There is still a great need for simple, scalable and sustainable WinS models that are an integral part of the education system’s core activities”, notes Nicole Siegmund, Principal Advisor of the regional Fit for School Programme. “The Fit for School concept has shown its potential for scale in many contexts around the world. We are particularly pleased that the Philippines Department of Education contributed significantly to the report.” The national Education Management and Information System (EMIS) of the Philippines has recently been reviewed and adapted to include WinS indicators on water and group handwashing. While 59% of schools surveyed had group handwashing facilities, only 40% were functional with soap.

In June 2016, the Department of Education of the Philippines issued “DepEd Order No. 10, s. 2016 – Policy and Guidelines for the comprehensive Water, Sanitation and Hygiene on Schools (WINS) Program,” which released the revised data collection forms for the Basic Education Information System, based on the Three Star Approach for WASH in Schools. Comprehensive WinS indicators were incorporated into the survey forms covering drinking water, water for cleaning, functionality and cleaning of toilets, waste-management, group handwashing and toothbrushing, deworming, health education, and menstrual hygiene management. They developed a participatory monitoring system conducted by the school WinS technical working group composed of students, teachers, parents and other stakeholders. To accommodate schools across varying settings and resource levels, data collection is paper-based, and utilizes Excel for encoding prior to online uploading by each school. This online monitoring system was designed to immediately provide feedback that schools can use to improve the implementation of WinS.

WinS Online Monitoring for baseline school year 2017-2018 finished in May 2018. The data has been collated and analyzed by the GIZ Fit for School M&E team. 65.5% of the total of 46,645 public elementary and secondary schools participated in the first baseline WinS encoding. Of the participating schools, 9.1% or 2,781 schools out of the participants have reached a star level. WinS results are now being used in workshops at region and division levels to help them produce a technical assistance plan for their respective scope. Among the WinS elements, daily group handwashing was scored lowest with only 18% compliance, showing that there is still a lot of room for improvement.

Learn more about Fit for School by visiting www.fitforschool.international.