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IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre


Debate Info

9
2
We don’t need more evidence We do need more evidence
Debate Score:11
Arguments:8
Total Votes:12
More Stats

Argument Ratio

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 We don’t need more evidence (6)
 
 We do need more evidence (2)

Debate Creator

dietvorst(42) pic



We don’t need more evidence for WASH in Schools

We don’t need more evidence for WASH in Schools. It is the right for every child.

This is the third in a series of WASH in Schools debates organised by the WASH in Schools Thematic Group.

The first two debates - We have failed on WASH in Schools and WASH in Schools has failed in setting standards and monitoring coverage are still open and a fourth debate on We are sharing enough of our WASH in schools information has also opened.

For more information on WASH in Schools please visit www.unicef.org/wash/schools and www.washinschools.info

We don’t need more evidence

Side Score: 9
VS.

We do need more evidence

Side Score: 2
2 points

"Funding is tight and tough decisions have to be made. WASH investment in schools is often unsustainable and frequently falls into disrepair. We all accept the rights of children, but this argument is increasingly falling short of convincing decision makers and insufficient hard evidence on the value added is available. We clearly need to have better supported economic and rights based arguments to justify continued prioritised investment in WASH in Schools."

Side: We do need more evidence
2 points

One of the problems with the WASH sector is that we seem to need evidence to justify water and sanitation as means to an end (e.g. child survival, educational achievement) rather than ends in themselves. Surely every school should have WASH facilities whether they have an impact on learning outcomes or not.

Side: We don’t need more evidence
2 points

I coordinate a WASH in Schools program across several countries in Central America and came here after seeing the note in today's IRC E-Source newsletter stating that the conclusion of the edebate is that "more scientific evidence is needed on impacts of WASH in schools action on the ground in the developing world."

I personally share the opinion stated in the introduction of this debate that we don’t need more evidence for WASH in Schools - it is the right for every child. However, assuming a) decision-makers in government and development organizations prioritize investments based upon potential health and educational impacts and b) there is indeed a lack of evidence surrounding the impact of WASH in Schools interventions, we have hired a consultant (through a cooperation agreement with UNICEF TACRO) to apply and validate a WASH in Schools impact evaluation methodology in Honduras over the coming months. In October we expect initial results and a validated methodology which can be applied by any organization.

However, if I am making decisions about whether or not to invest in WASH in Schools, I invest but by including a school component in a broader WASH initiative or by including a WASH component in a broader education initiative. And I don't need more evidence to support that decision, because of the rights-based argument and also because I believe that my return on investment is greater this way than by investing in a standalone WASH in Schools program.

Side: We don’t need more evidence
1 point

The body of evidence to date is surely sufficient? We have known for a long time what the problems are; let's follow up on what we have discovered. Nearly everywhere the provision, condition and post-construction support is dismal. Consult the students; facilitate the provision of well-maintained, pleasant and safe toilets; water and soap for handwashing along with hygiene promotion. Then we might have a justifiable basis for post-intervention studies and further research.

Side: We don’t need more evidence
1 point

There is probably a lack of evidence surrounding the impact of WASH in Schools interventions on health and learning outcomes. But wouldn't it be a waste of resource to carry out more impact evaluations (which are very difficult to scientifically design and implement at significant scale, and which results are not easy to interprete), when funds are rare and actions are urgently needed?

Indeed, I would be happy to see that decision-makers in government and development organisations prioritize investments based upon potential health and educational impacts. But for now I am not 100% sure that this assumption is true.

By the way, the WASH in school initiative in Mali (mostly funded by Dubai Cares and implemented by UNICEF-Mali, Care-Mali, Oxfam UK, WaterAid-Mali and Save the Children USA in more than 800 schools) has a very strong monitoring, evaluation and learning component. Evaluation results will be made available by end of 2013 (for whose who need evidence to make informed decisions and take action!).

Side: We don’t need more evidence
1 point

Adequate provision of WASH in schools had a number of positive effects already as proved in schools and contributed to reduced burden of disease among school children, staff and their families. Such intervention also provided opportunities for greater gender equity in access to education, and created educational opportunities to promote safe environments at home as well as in communities and this can be the most evidence for a successful project in wash in schools, therefore, I don’t think that we need more evidence for WASH in schools more than increment of school children enrollment and reduction of water born diseases.

Side: We don’t need more evidence
1 point

In the discussion so far it has become clear that more scientific evidence is needed on impacts of WASH in schools action on the ground in the developing world. As Annemarie Mooymans’ earlier stated : “...consequently those working in WASH in Schools should stop making claims on impacts that cannot yet be proven (particularly related to girls attendance and drop-out) and focus on what can be proven (increased knowledge on hygiene, reduced WASH-related diseases).”

Everyone should read the powerful March 2011 systematic review of the evidence by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Institute of Education that was shared by Dan Campbell in the first debate. http://www.dfid.gov.uk/R4D/PDF/Outputs/SystematicReviews/Birdthistle_Separate_toilets_for_girls_20110331.pdf

The primary aim of this systematic review was to identify and synthesize existing evidence of the impact of separate toilets for girls on their enrolment and attendance in schools. The authors conclude: “We did not identify any studies that were designed specifically to assess the impact of separate-sex toilets. And to date, no trial has been registered to assess the impact of separate-sex toilets (Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials; and the Campbell Library), suggesting that no evaluations are currently underway”.

They also systematically researched five studies in which separate toilets for girls were included as part of a broader WASH intervention supported by UNICEF and designed to evaluate local adaptations of UNICEF’s School Sanitation & Hygiene Education (SSHE) support. Based on the review of these studies, and follow-up correspondence with their authors, the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Institute of Education conclude that, existing studies cannot answer their key review questions.

Dick de Jong

Side: UNICEF
1 point

A lot of the work we do in WASH in school require empirical evidence to influence sector stakeholders particularly policy makers. They require concerete evidence, case studies and testiminies from the children.

More evidence is required to reinforce the educational policy and WASH in school policy. Concentration in the past have been on health findings of WASH in school, now we need more of the social evidence. We need more evidence on school attendance, enrolment.........it influence policy makers.

Side: We do need more evidence