Fit For School approach at primary schools in Tanzania - current focus on group handwashing facilities

  • AlexanderWinkscha
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Re: Fit For School approach at primary schools in Tanzania - current focus on group handwashing facilities

Dear Hajo,

greetings from Vientiane! I recently started working here in the Regional Fit For School Programme and am delighted to read about what is going on in Tanzania with regards to the approach. I really appreciate the regular updated you provide on the progress!

I'd be interested to know what the plan is for tackling oral hygiene. Will that be the third step after focusing on handwashing and de-worming? Or as was suggested above, is the problem of tooth decay and caries only a minor one in Tanzania?

Keep up the great work!

Alex
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  • hajo
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Re: Fit For School approach at primary schools in Tanzania - current focus on group handwashing facilities

Dear Alex,

Thanks for your posting and your interest in our work in Tanzania.

As indicated in my previous postings, our focus is on hand-washing with soap. This may eventually be extended to face-washing to tackle trachoma which is endemic in Tanzania and can easily be connected to hand-washing. De-worming we could also include as there are sometimes national health programmes on this issue.

Tooth-brushing especially with fluoride toothpaste is not high on the agenda also because groundwater in Tanzania and especially in the western Kilimanjaro region has a too high fluoride content and people actually suffer from diseases caused by too high fluoride: tooth decay and crippling skeletal fluorosis.

And anyway: our focus must be on making hand-washing with soap sustainable, ensuring that the approach becomes anchored in national SWASH policy, that local governments budget for appropriate supply of water and soap and that school committees and teachers take ownership of the responsibility for the daily hand-washing routine.

Good luck in Vientiane,
Ciao Hajo

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  • hajo
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Re: Fit For School approach at primary schools in Tanzania - current focus on group handwashing facilities

hi all,

you have not heard for a while from Fit For School in Moshi which can partially be attributed to the festive season when schools were closed for a month and also to the new Government which has ruled that Government schools are no more permitted to ask parents for financial contributions. While GoT is now trying to find funds and channels to get enough money to the schools to keep them going, it has affected all sorts of school activites including F4S, which requires water, soap and attention.

Nevertheless our NGO, Childreach has made efforts to keep F4S going and we even intend to extend the project at least until July 2016. During that period the progress at the each 10 schools in Moshi and Dar es Salaam shall be monitored, F4S should be more anchored in national SWASH policy and as a perk F4S may be expanded to each 6 more schools in Moshi and Dar, respectively.

From the progress report of Childreach for February 2016, I copy the following observations:

Generally in all the meetings, stakeholders are happy and positive about the project despite the few challenges. Some of the challenges that they mentioned include:
- Lack of funds to repair of the handwashing facilities since parents are no longer contributing due to the stop order from the government
- Filling up the buckets and washing them is hard because pupils are not tall enough to do so.
- Most of the bucket covers are broken because of the sun
- Lack of incinerators to burn the used pads.

Some challenges were specific for individual schools for instance lack of safe drinking water (Mangisabasi) as they use water from the well and it has not been tested to be safe or not. Also Majengo mentioned of the project increasing water bills while Mandela and JK Nyerere said the project has led to reduction of bills.

Basically, the project proved to have brought more benefits than challenges. Some of the success include:
- Improved health to pupils. Mrupanga, Mangisabasi, James Ole Millya, Benjamin Mkapa, Ronga, Kilimanjaro, Nelson Mandela mentioned of decreased rates of pupils going to the hospitals due to stomach diseases.
- Decreased truancy was also mentioned by many schools.
- Benjamin Mkapa, Ronga and Mrupanga mentioned of high school enrolment to the point that they had to refuse some. However we have not been able to trace the percentage of decreased stomach diseases, decreased truancy or increased enrolment.
- Publicity is also one of the success as almost all schools confessed to get many visitors and parents wanting to learn about the project to the point that some find it overwhelming, eg Mrupanga termed it as a challenge. Ronga mentioned to have a lot of visitors from neighbouring villages because they appeared in the 2016 calendar produced by a sugar company (TPC) hence lots of people come to the school to learn about the project. J.K Nyerere had a group of visitors from UK who took photos and promised to replicate it back home.


I hope, that gives you a bit of insight into developments of F4S in Tanzania,
ciao Hajo

We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.
Albert Einstein
Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex... It takes a touch of a genius - and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.
E.F. Schumacher
Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. :-)
Albert Einstein
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  • muench
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Re: Fit For School approach at primary schools in Tanzania - current focus on group handwashing facilities

Dear Hajo,

thanks for this update.

You said that:

the new Government has ruled that Government schools are no more permitted to ask parents for financial contributions. While GoT is now trying to find funds and channels to get enough money to the schools to keep them going, it has affected all sorts of school activites including F4S, which requires water, soap and attention.


(F4S = Fit for School)

What is the reason behind this government decision? So before that, you had asked the children to bring in wate and soap from home and now that is no longer possible, is that right? It's not a financial contribution though? How about parents having to buy school uniforms or books, is that now also scrapped?

And you mentioned:

Nevertheless our NGO, Childreach has made efforts to keep F4S going and we even intend to extend the project at least until July 2016.


What NGO is this? How large is it and how is it funded? It seems a bit sad that an NGO had to step in, rather than government bodies (or GIZ) supporting this.

But your results sound very impressive! Perhaps you could post the full report here?

Regards,
Elisabeth

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  • hajo
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Re: Fit For School approach at primary schools in Tanzania - current focus on group handwashing facilities

Dear Elisabeth, dear all,

GoT is supposed to provide all government schools with a so called ‘capitation grant’ for every child, which money is meant for the running of the school including learning means, security, water, school feeding, … This money always comes/came late and never sufficient. Thus parents were asked to contribute to cover the shortcoming which now has been disallowed, GoT tries to make free education a reality.

With regard to F4S this affects provision of water and soap. Our 10 pilot schools all have water supply either as piped water supply from the utility (8)or by water well with handpump (2). But the piped water has to be paid for and if GoT does not provide enough funds and parents are disallowed to contribute, this will cause problems. Which may be resolved by the school not paying the bills and the utility not disconnecting the school at ‘special request’ by some higher authority.

And soap has never been provided on large scale for group hand-washing and has not a high priority when exercise books and school feeding are lacking. At the start of the project we anticipated that the soap would be funded by the school out of the mixed contributions of capitation grant and parents’ contribution. Now we (Childreach/GIZ) are impressing on the local government authority (LGA) who is in charge of the schools to include soap in their annual budget. We will see whether it will work, at least they have promised to look into it. For the start of the pilot GIZ has financed the soap.

About Childreach you can read from their website ( www.childreachtz.org/ ) which had been quoted in my first posting to this thread. And they are not financing anything but are rather financed by GIZ to implement this project. And as part of their job they try to influence that F4S does not suffer from the increased financial shortages at the school and promote in the LGAs a higher ownership of and commitment for F4S.

I hope this answers your questions,
Ciao Hajo

We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.
Albert Einstein
Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex... It takes a touch of a genius - and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.
E.F. Schumacher
Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. :-)
Albert Einstein
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  • F H Mughal
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Re: Fit For School approach at primary schools in Tanzania - current focus on group handwashing facilities

A government-controlled foundation distributed soaps to few primary schools in Sindh, sometime back. The move was appreciated by the educationalists. This dramatically improved the children hygiene in those schools.

The practice was discontinued, probably, due to the lack of funds.

F H Mughal

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