What Next After 100% Coverage in WASH in Schools (India Chapter Thematic Discussion)

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What Next After 100% Coverage in WASH in Schools (India Chapter Thematic Discussion)

Dear all,

We are starting this thematic discussion on WASH in Schools in the India Chapter of SuSanA. On 15th August 2015, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MoHRD), Government of India, announced all schools in the country had toilets. In just a matter of months, nearly half a million toilets were made to reach the magical figure. A year before, the onus of ensuring adequate water and sanitation facilities, and imparting hygiene education, in schools had been shifted completely to MoHRD from the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation (MDWS). This was to streamline WASH in Schools, fix responsibility and ensure resources.

Under the Swacch Vidyalaya (SV) programme , 417,796 toilets were made or fixed in a year from August 2014 to August 2015. The table below summarises work done under the programme.
Toilets Status
Government Funds
(SSA + RMSA)
Private companiesPublic sector undertakingsSwachh Bharat KoshTotal number
National summary258,6443,466141,63614,050417,796
Work Completed258,6443,466141,63614,050417,796
Work in progress00000
Source: Swacch Vidyalaya website, MoHRD

Of these, new toilets were 266,017; the rest were dysfunctional that needed to be fixed. There are a total of 1,448,712 schools in India. Private companies, according to the SV website, built 3,416 toilets while public sector companies made 141,636. Most work was to be done by the government. However, it seems private sector engagement has been under-reported as a perusal of the websites of companies that have implemented WASH in Schools (WinS) shows much higher figures; some of them do not figure on the SV website.

Additionally, many development partners have WinS programmes covering several thousand schools across India. UNICEF, WaterAid, Plan, GIZ, Water for People, World Vision, Save the Children and Rotary are among them. They have ensured improved WASH facilities through direct interventions as well as advocacy with local and state authorities. There are several innovations for behaviour change such as the Green Wicket by GIZ and the Karnataka State Cricket Association that try to improve WASH behaviour in schoolchildren. The Green Schools programme of the Centre for Science and Environment is an ‘inspection’ or ‘survey’ of the school done by its students on its environmental practices. They explore what’s happening to the water, energy, land , air and waste in the school.

The District Information System for Education (DISE) evaluates all aspects of education through state and district MIS units. According to its report in 2015-16, 96.76% schools had drinking water, 97.07% had boys’ toilets and 97.58% had girls’ toilets. More than 95% were reported to be usable . Around 52% schools had a hand-washing facility available near the toilet.

However, independent verification of MoHRD’s claims have shown there are still ‘uncovered’ schools. The largest study in 2016 by Pratham, an NGO working on education issues, shows even in 2016 3.5% schools did not have a toilet, and 27.8% were unusable . The blind-spots are handwashing stations, the quality and frequency of hygiene education imparted to children and menstrual hygiene management facilities and education.

The maintenance of toilets is of concern. Schools get three grants each year of which two can be used for sanitation facilities. If it has less than three classrooms, a school gets ₹5000 – 7500 and if it has more than three, ₹ 7500-10000 as a school maintenance grant. Primary schools get ₹ 5000 yearly for school development, upper primary schools get ₹ 7000 and ₹ 12000 if they are from classes 1-8. Money is short.

School management committees that run schools have to engage sweepers to clean toilets but as the funds are so tiny, cleaning happens infrequently, resulting in a third of toilets being unusable. Primary schools cannot raise money from parents under the Right to Education Act but middle and high schools can. Maintaining toilets remains a low priority and ‘somebody else’s job’. SMCs meet infrequently, as a study by WaterAid pointed out in 2016. Institutions are weak. Therefore, ownership of WASH by the education has had mixed outcomes.

Of the companies that have initiated WASH programmes, a study by Samhita and ISC indicated 48 per cent have projects that benefit communities and schools. An additional 26 per cent have only WASH in Schools projects. Therefore, WASH in Schools is a significant area of intervention for companies. However, the same study points out that two-thirds of WASH projects are executed without any software aspects.

While these are included in the Swacch Vidyalaya norms, this discussion would help point out practical difficulties and suggestions for their improvement. Additionally, there is a repository of WinS information on SuSanA. Against this background, the India Sanitation Coalition will hold a thematic online discussion about WASH in Schools in India. The discussion will run from 4 September - 23 September on the SuSanA Discussion Forum.

This discussion seeks your inputs on how to take WinS to an acceptable level where boys and girls have separate and adequate toilets, hand-washing facilities, hygiene is addressed in schools, and adolescent girls have usable menstrual hygiene facilities.

The issues we would seek your inputs on are:
  1. What innovations have you come across in WinS by the government, companies or NGOs that are worth emulating? Mahesh Nathan, WASH advisor from World Vision India will lead this topic. Your responses are sought from 4-9 September
  2. How has shifting the responsibility for WinS to MoHRD affected the condition of facilities and hygiene? What challenges remain and how can they be overcome. Arundhati Muralidharan, School WASH manager from WaterAid India will lead this topic from 9 – 13 September
  3. How can companies contribute to WinS? What are examples of successful WASH contributions by companies? This topic will be open from 14-18 September
  4. Is the current monitoring system under DISE adequate and how can it be improved and tied to the SDGs? Srinivas Chary from the Administrative Staff College of India will lead this topic from 19 - 23 September

We will develop a white paper on the topic for advocacy with MoHRD, companies and development partners and post it along with the synthesis document on the SuSanA Forum at the end of the discussion.

Mahesh Nathan is posting his opening comment shortly.

Warm regards
Nitya
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  • lindasemana
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Re: What Next After 100% Coverage in WASH in Schools (India Chapter Thematic Discussion)

Borrowing a leaf from the East Africa WASH & Learn Program (SIMAVI & Aqua for All). Sustainability of WASH investments in schools becomes key when addressing what next. Through the WASH and Learn program three tools have been melded together to generate collective reflection and consensus building among school WASH stakeholders, so that the WASH gains are not lost.

By integrating the F.I.E.T.S (Financial, Institutional, Environmental, Technological and Social sustainability approach) into the act of analysing risks and setting mitigation mechanisms for every WASH investment in the school. Then facilitating a cost recovery planning process with key stakeholders in the school specifically focusing on the maintenance of the WASH investments in the school. The WASH & Learn program is succeeding in transforming the beneficiaries (community, teachers, local leaders, government, pupils and parents) in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, into a more responsive group of stakeholders, willing to come up with joint initiatives for the operation and maintenance of the WASH facilities/investment. Such initiatives include carrying out income generating activities to curb the challenges surrounding managing water supply as well as making contributions in form of human, financial and leadership resources.
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Re: What Next After 100% Coverage in WASH in Schools (India Chapter Thematic Discussion)

Nitya thanks for your post. I can tell you that I was in India on the day that 100% coverage was announced. On that very day I visited four schools which had no toilets and started a project building toilets in these schools.

Since August 2015 we have built toilets in a further 12 to 15 schools which previously had no toilets. Next month we will start building toilets in another four schools which currently have no toilets. I found the 100% coverage announcement very disappointing as it suggested that corporate supporters could perhaps start directing their funds elsewhere.

In addition to the schools that we have found with no toilets we also continue to find schools in the following categories:

a) They have toilets but they are completely and utterly unusable.
b) They have toilets but in ratios that are totally impractical. We are due to start a project in Bihar in a school with 600 children that has one toilet. If each child in the school were to use this one toilet once per school day this would allow each child around 45 seconds and they would need to have their allocated 45 seconds rostered at a specific time of day. Research shows that boys typically need 60 seconds and girls need a minimum of 90 seconds. Furthermore many schools in India do not allow children to use the toilet during class time so on that basis in such a school the 600 children would have around 60 minutes of recess and lunch time to use the toilet. On that basis no more than 60 boys or 40 girls would be able to use the toilet during the breaks. The rest would need to go in the open or just hold on. I note that I have visited a number of schools since 2015 which still have ratios of 1:600 or worse and in these cases some have determined that the toilet is for use only by girls and female staff meaning that all the boys and male staff and the majority of the girls will need to go outside.

In my opinion schools with toilets in these ratios are not much better than schools with no toilets or schools with unusable toilets.
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Re: What Next After 100% Coverage in WASH in Schools (India Chapter Thematic Discussion)

Hi
Do you have more details of the FIETS approach?
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Nitya
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Re: What Next After 100% Coverage in WASH in Schools (India Chapter Thematic Discussion)

Mark, you make a good point here. The student - toilet seat ratio is absurd. Toilets in many cases are made without thought of how many students are in the school. Usability or functionality are a distant second or third consideration. My concern is, simply shifting the line ministry of department does nothing on the ground unless officers can be held to account and local committees or panchayats step up to the plate.
Nitya
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  • pkjha
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Re: What Next After 100% Coverage in WASH in Schools (India Chapter Thematic Discussion)

Dear Nitya
The present announcement may be availability of toilets in schools. Observation of Mark is no exception. However, the National School sanitation Manual mentions following ratio between toilets and students in school:
For Girls’ toilet --1 unit for every 40 girls + lady teacher for Day school without residential facility.
Girls’ Urinal* 1 urinal for every 20 girls
For Boys’ toilet-- 1 unit for every 80 boys + male teacher for Day school, without residential facility.
Boys’ Urinal* 1 urinal + male teacher for every 20 boys
It is not known how many schools have toilets as per the manual.
Next step should be to identify the gaps between verification by the government agencies and private body and try to fill the gap.
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Pawan

Pawan Jha
Chairman
Foundation for Environment and Sanitation
Mahavir Enclave
New Delhi 110045, India
Web: www.foundation4es.org
Linked: linkedin.com/in/drpkjha
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Re: What Next After 100% Coverage in WASH in Schools (India Chapter Thematic Discussion)

Dear all,

Here is a publication in SuSanA's library that may of use in this discussion. It showcases various approaches, both practical and innovative, to provide sustainable WASH solutions in schools around the world. The stories are not limited to the construction of water and sanitation systems but also show how these systems are operated and maintained through active involvement of pupils, teachers, cleaning staff and community members. In some cases, awareness is raised for the accountability of functioning WASH facilities among school children and teachers, which can lead to empowered school communities taking responsibility and consequent actions to improve the situation themselves.

The stories presented here shall raise awareness about the importance of ensuring access to WASH and in particular sanitation in school settings among decision-makers, planners and practitioners working in and with schools and interested people around the globe. They will also shed light on the good work that is being done by SuSanA members and partners.

There are case studies from various countries, including India.

You can find the full study here: www.susana.org/en/resources/library/details/2077

Meanwhile, I am working on the synthesis document for the discussion. If you would like to respond, please login and do so.

Regards
Nitya
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Re: What Next After 100% Coverage in WASH in Schools (India Chapter Thematic Discussion)

Hi Nitya

F.I.E.T.S stands for Financial Institutional Environment Technological and Social Sustainability and has been a working concept IRC and Simavi have been working with to reinforce a holistic approach to sustainability. In FIETS all stakeholders and means are involved in ensure the WASH investment is sustained. That is the financing means and actors, the institutional mechanism and key actors therein, the environment where the investment is made as well as key actors involved, the required technology vis-a-vis the existing technology plus the persons with the stake in maintaining this technology and how, then finally the social aspect that looks at who not only is a beneficiary but has a stake in this investment as well as the component of inclusiveness.

Taking this into account we cease to see beneficiaries but stakeholders with roles to play as well as responsibilities to uphold. This has to be made clear to them through consensual discussions and activities.

I hope this bit is an eye opener.....with regards to your need to know more about FIETS.

Best Wishes,

Linda
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Re: Synthesis Document: What Next After 100% Coverage in WASH in Schools (India Chapter Thematic Discussion)

Dear members,

I am pleased to share with you the synthesis document for the India Chapter Thematic Discussion on 'What Next After 100% Coverage in WASH in Schools'. The discussion was open from 4-23 September and 22 people contributed to it. I thank each one of the contributors and the four topic leads, Annkathrin Tempel and Amitoj Gill for reviewing the document and the India Sanitation Coalition for their support in running the discussion.

You can find the links to the full discussion in the synthesis document in the attachment.

Warm regards
Nitya Jacob
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