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I agree with Sumita Ganguly's argumentation. Where in the world do local governments have the power, the money and the capacity to implement School construction programmes that include decent toilets for girls, boys and teachers? After having worked on advocacy and communication at IRC for nearly 30 years I find it a scandal that we have not been able to shake governments into action for well-maintained sanitary faciliies at all schools in the developing world.
Who are the we' and why this debate?
Peter and others ask "who is we". The "we" in the debate statement refers to the collective of everyone in the water, samitation and education sectors. The 'we' of the organizers of this debate: UNICEF and IRC people working with WASH in schools, information sharing, advocacy and communication. The email invitation for this debate went to the existing mailinglist of UNICEF/IRC School Sanitation and Hygiene Education networks. The announcement put on the IRC home page and promoted by UNICEF. It was also picked up by the Water Supply and Sanitaion Collaborative Council's news.
Why thiis debate now ?
Outcomes of this discussion will feed into a European Call for Action on WASH in Schools that IRC and UNICEF are organising on 24 and 25 May in The Hague. The international Call to Action for WASH in Schools campaign (www.unicef.org/wash/schools) was launched in 2010 calling on decision-makers to increase investments and on concerned stakeholders to plan and act in cooperation, so that all children go to a school with child-friendly water, sanitation and hygiene facilities.
This international call for action of 2010 and now in 2011 illustrate that our earlier work in WASH in Schools has failed.
Dick de Jong,
Communication specialist, IRC International Water and Sanitation
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/
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
National guidelines from 2005 helped India
The Indian Department of Drinking Water Supply, Ministry of Rural Development of the Government of India published already in 2005 their national Technical Note Series "School Water Supply, Sanitation & Hygiene Education: India" as guidance documents for all the states in India. It used many "quotes" from the Indian SSHE Resource guide that the Department wrote with UNICEF India's and IRC assistance.
The national publication ‘School Water Supply, Sanitation & Hygiene Education: India’, from the Department of Drinking Water Supply Ministry of Rural Development Government India was available on their site as PDF file until recently. Unfortunately the link to this national file did not work anymore, when I checked on 20 April 2011.
A Resource Book and Handbook for Teachers on School Sanitation and Hygiene Education India published jointly by UNICEF India and IRC from 2002 helped the process in various Indian states. This package of two manuals examines key features of SSHE such as: behavioural change, education and training, strategic planning, district planning, local mobilisation, technologies, and ongoing school/community activities.
Both books contain a number of activity sheets to assist managers and trainers in their work. Although the books were developed in the context of the School Water and Sanitation Towards Health and Hygiene (SWASTHH) programme in India, they provide many useful guidelines and activities that apply to similar programmes elsewhere.
These handy tools can still be downloaded free of charge from our site at http://www.irc.nl/page/1918.
Dick de Jong
Dick de Jong passionate on the need for sanitation and hygiene in schools
There is one issue which Dirk de Jong is passionate about: the need for sanitation facilities in schools. The lack of decent toilets in schools causes kids - especially girls - to drop out once they reach puberty. Dick talked to Lovisa Selander on the Water Cube at the World Water Day celebrations in Cape Town. See the video clip http://watercube.blip.tv/file/4917714/
Who else can upload a video clip that can help enliven the debate?
WASH in School improvements may have occurred in six or seven countries, it may be on more agendas as before. But looking back at our collective efforts over the last 15 to 20 years my overall conclusion is that we have failed on WASH in Schools. There is no developing country yet where all the schools have decent water, sanitation and hygiene facilities that last for girls, boys and their teachers.
We failed to make WASH in Schools sexy. We failed to get massive buy- in from the private sector or charity funds. Where is the massive global campaign supporting national governments on delivering on the promises? Where is the famous global WASH in Schools Ambassador that can influence governments to invest and help to get media and public attention? Which countries have a national celebrity acting as national ambassador for WASH in Schools?
The three-year US Ambassador’s Schools WASH initiative is a case in point. This US$ 150,000 programme started in July 2009 aiming to provide water, sanitation and hygiene education to children in at least 15 schools globally and to raise awareness about the importance of safe water and sanitation. The Millennium Water Alliance (MWA) in partnership with the Global Water Challenge (GWC), Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Rotarian Action Group (WASRAG) and Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, in the Department of State (OES) will identify countries and schools and implement the WASH activities. US embassies are asked to contribute $8,000 for each project and host at least two high level public out-reach events to raise awareness about the need to provide clean water and sanitation. MWA and its partners will provide additional financial and in-kind resources, valued at over $10,000, to implement the project and feature it in a global WASH-in-Schools advocacy campaign. See http://www.mwawater.org/programs/
Given the massive needs in the great majority of schools in the developing world these amounts of money are peanuts.
Dick de Jong