Theme 1: Policy Issues on the Regional and Global Level

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  • PhilipPurnell
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Re: Theme 1: Policy Issues on the Regional and Global Level

I work for SEAMEO INNOTECH one of the Regional Centers under the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization umbrella. We are currently partnering with GIZ and Ministries of Education (MOEs) in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Indonesia and the Philippines on a regional wash in schools project known as FIT for School. The primary goal of the FIT program is to support MOEs to take a leadership role in promoting Wash in Schools within the context of multi-stakeholder partnership involving Ministries of Health, Local Governments, private sector and schol-communities. This is in recognition of the crucial impact health has on student learning outcomes and the need for deliberate efforts to promote education-health convergence at all levels - from school to district to province/region to national levels.

What is emerging is the great opportunities for promoting effective wash in schools implementation provided by national policy reforms that decentralize educational management (DEM). DEM (also known as school-based management) helps empower school heads as WASH champions and decision-makers ensuring interventions are contextualized according to local conditions and realities. At the same time the community-partnership efforts supporting these local wash in school initiatives helps build the capacities of school heads in critical SBM-related competencies such as school-community partnership-building, resource mobilization, school-improvement planning, learning environment management and holistic child development, among others. Thus we see a mutually reinforcing dynamic at work with highly beneficial results. It would be interesting to hear if other countries have similar experience of SBM as both a catalyst and beneficiary of effective wash in school implementation.
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  • BelindaA
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Re: Theme 1: Policy Issues on the Regional and Global Level

I posted this under the implementation group, but also would like to share it to you for your opinions.

Here it is . . . .

I am very aware of the success of the Fit for Schools model, but I would like to play Devil’s Advocate in its replicability in other contexts.
From the comments from Fit-for School Manilla, Laos, Phillip from SEAMEO INNOTECH, the idea of having head teachers or other members in school as WASH champions is good idea but not a new idea. However when we speak about institutionalisation, we should not speak about individuals but rather a systematic approach to giving head teachers or district teams incentives to include WASH in schools in their monitoring or daily affairs.
The Fit for School model does offer a template for Education to take on WINS and in some cases it is scaled up nationally. However, it still requires significant an external support, i.e. a small team of dedicated individuals only on this subject working with Education officials to keep things in order, monitor and pull schools along if they are falling off track. In essence, the Fit-for School models presents an external support to Ministry of Education for WINS . . .no?
In this line, there was an earlier proposal for privatized model for WASH in schools. Are we expecting too much of education to take on WASH in schools fully?
Beyond the Fit for School model, what other models that might work? Education officials increasingly have a more responsibilities and expectation- looking at any EMIS will tell you . . . psychosocial care, child protection, nutrition, health, capacity development, building, playgrounds for pay, etc.. Are we asking too much for them to assume hats as WASH managers?
Belinda Abraham

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skype: Belinda.Abraham2

Recently joined as of May 2018, East Meets West (EMW)/ Thrive Network as Country Director/ Regional Program Director based in Viet Nam. New programming areas: WASH- PPP's, social enterprises, FSM and School WASH (WiNs) with a focus in South East Asia.

Career profile: WASH Specialist, over 15 years in Eastern and Southern Africa, South East Asia, primarily working for UNICEF.
Key areas of interest: WASH in Schools, WASH Communication and Community-based Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion
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  • Katrin
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Re: Theme 1: Policy Issues on the Regional and Global Level

+++ BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE DISCUSSION SO FAR +++

Dear all,

Thank you for your contributions to the discussion so far! For those of you who joined the discussion late, I would like to provide a short summary of the issues and questions raised.

The guiding questions were:

- How is the education sector taking WASH on board?
- How can the WASH sector support the education sector?
- What does it take for better-managed WinS?
- What shifts are necessary to see the situation change?

The main discussion points up to now:

1. There is a lack of cooperation; especially at higher levels

Semi-official cooperation (e.g. between school employees and local government) can work at the local level but stops at higher levels due to bureaucratic struggles and a lack of accountability/responsibility

Questions that emerged:
- How can policy at national or even global levels address this? Is it even possible?
- Can we urge people, let alone institutions, to 'talk' with each other?
- What sort of incentives would get institutions to communicate and work together?
- Is it a question of money/sufficient funds or rather who has the money?

2. Schools constitute a major part of the community’s infrastructure and are integrated into daily community life. Schools should not be seen as separate entities managed by the education sector

3. There is a lack of knowledge and capacity on the part of teachers to promote the benefits of WASH facilities within the school community and to in fact put those facilities in place.

4. WASH-related Key Performance Indicators should not only be applied to the WASH sector but also to the education sector (e.g. access to WASH by number of students).

5. The education sector places too strong of an emphasis on educational issues. Nutrition, health and WASH facilities are equally important for achieving positive educational outcomes but are neglected. These have to be integrated in general education policies as well. However, they should all receive the same amount of attention. There should not be an exclusive focus on WASH. Incorporation of all aspects is essential.

6. Local customs and local knowledge have to be respected by the WASH sector in order for policies to be truly successful.

7. Example Fit For School

(1) Support the Ministry of Education, which acts within a multi-stakeholder context and on different levels (e.g. Ministries of Health, Local Governments,private sector and school-communities), to take leadership regarding the promotion of WinS.

(2) National policies that decentralize school management can offer great opportunities for WinS
(i) Empowered school heads and decision-makers are able to incorporate WinS according to local conditions
(ii) Related community-partnerships increase teachers’ general school-based management competencies (partnership-building, resource mobilization, planning, etc.)

What are your thoughts on the issues raised so far? What experiences have you had regarding the implementation of WASH facilities in schools? Have you engaged in partnerships with the education sector before and what were your experiences ?

I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the subject and welcome any additional questions you might have!

Kind regards,
Katrin
Dr. Katrin Dauenhauer
SuSanA Thematic Discussion Series Coordinator
Bonn, Germany
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  • PhilipPurnell
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Re: Theme 1: Policy Issues on the Regional and Global Level

Belinda raises an important point about the institutional capacity of school heads to take on responsibility of WASH implementation in schools and whether this is an approach that can be institutionalized. The experience in the Philippines may be shed some light on this question. The Philippine Department of Education has been seeking to decentralize educational management through school-based management for over 15 years. This approach recognizes that one of the core accountabilities and expected competencies of school heads is ensuring that the school environment is conducive to learning and holistic child development. WASH in schools is thus not viewed as an external program that school heads must take on as an added burden, but rather an integral part of their responsibilities as managers of instruction, student learning and development. While initially the FIT for school approach was supported with technical assistance from GIZ and an external NGO (now no longer operational)in a single province, over the past decade the Philippine Department of Education has fully integrated the approach as part of its nationwide essential health care program. WASH school-level implementation is institutionalized and scaled-up nationwide and the remaining technical support provided by GIZ is only at the national level focused on helping the government strengthen its WASH quality assurance mechanisms through the 3 star approach to monitoring and evaluation. By leveraging on existing operational management and decision-making structures the groundwork for sustainability of WASH implementation has been laid. While there is certainly variability in the quality of implementation across the country there is a consensus re: the critical convergence between health and learning outcomes and the importance of WASH as an education strategy and accountability.

In Lao PDR a somewhat different model to scale up of the FIT approach is being supported. While school heads are certainly still playing critical roles in ensuring integration of the FIT approach to WASH in their schools, the scale-up process is being spearheaded by the district level of the Ministry of Education. District level supervisors are acting as catalysts of change and scale-up using existing structures such as the school cluster system to engage and support school leaders as WASH champions within a Lao contextualized approach to change management. This process is being driven,financed and managed by the Lao Ministry of Education. The limited Technical Assistance provided by GIZ is again focused on helping the MOE strengthen its WASH in school quality assurance system through the 3 star approach.

In both the Lao and Philippine cases it is evident that decentralized educational management can be used as an entry point for sustainable and scalable WASH in school implementation. Deepening the impact of WASH in schools, however, does require having an enabling policy environment and a systematic quality assurance system such as the 3 star accreditation model.
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  • JKMakowka
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Re: Theme 1: Policy Issues on the Regional and Global Level

PhilipPurnell wrote: In both the Lao and Philippine cases it is evident that decentralized educational management can be used as an entry point for sustainable and scalable WASH in school implementation. Deepening the impact of WASH in schools, however, does require having an enabling policy environment and a systematic quality assurance system such as the 3 star accreditation model.


I think the Philippine case has to be taken with a grain of salt though. Yes overall you will not find extreme cases of neglect as in some other countries, but the schools are clearly overwhelmed (and have insufficient budget) to deal with WASH related issues where there isn't some outside support structure available. What I mean is that yes in the cities where there is good piped water supply and emptying services for septic tanks, it kind of works.
But in the more rural communities we work in, where usually no such things exists, it doesn't work at all. At most you will see a somewhat working shallow hand-pump, and even that is usually paid (O&M and sometimes even installation) for by teachers and parents from their private money. Everything beyond that more or less works until the first real issues arise, such as the septic tank being full, or the motor of the pump needing a new capacitor or something relatively small in terms of O&M.
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  • PhilipPurnell
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Re: Theme 1: Policy Issues on the Regional and Global Level

Limited access to WASH infrastructure is definitely a very real constraint in the Philippines and other countries of Southeast Asia. This is not just a problem of rural contexts. Inner-city urban schools, particularly,those which are overcrowded also experience challenges with access to running water and sanitation facilities due to overstressed and/or malfunctioning infrastructure.

In both contexts, however, schools which have been successful in addressing WASH in a sustainable manner have challenged traditional assumptions and paradigms about WASH infrastructure. Traditional Western-inspired WASH models which assume water-based sewage systems, running potable/non potable water, tiled sinks, faucets and toilet bowls as the norm clearly are not going to be feasible, affordable or sustainable in low water/non-water environments. There are, however, promising examples of WASH infrastructure models that use simple, low cost, low water consumption alternatives that are constructed locally using indigenous/locally available materials by school communities as successful and sustainable options. The tippy tap model that makes use of recycled water bottles and a simple drainage system is an example of such a low-cost alternative for handwashing and toothbrushing. More research and investment is needed in these community-based alternatives parallel with efforts to expand access to piped water and traditional sewage systems.
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Re: Theme 1: Policy Issues on the Regional and Global Level

While I agree in general, the area we work in isn't really a "low water environment", but rather even the most simple water supply system is out of the scope of maintenance by the school staff (and their budget for it).

To answer a few of the questions Katrin raised:

Here in the Philippines my impression is that it is mostly a question of who has the funds and is actually able to do something with them (i.e. not being bogged down in bureaucracy and politics).

I think it would help if the local governments would actually get a mandate to supply schools (from the outside) with water and sanitation services, but this has to go hand in hand with the school administrators having a simple way of paying a small monthly fee or such for these services at the local level.

Because usually even if services exist in the community there is a reluctance to connect schools for free (on both sides; the local government complains about electricity bills for running pumps and the teachers about unreliable service) and unless there is a good billing system in place already (only for larger water supply companies) there is just no easy administrative procedure to compensate the local government for their expenses of running a system reliably.
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  • cecile
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Re: Theme 1: Policy Issues on the Regional and Global Level

I would like to bounce on this very clear explanation:

PhilipPurnell wrote: This is in recognition of the crucial impact health has on student learning outcomes and the need for deliberate efforts to promote education-health convergence at all levels - from school to district to province/region to national levels.(...) it helps build the capacities of school heads in critical SBM-related competencies such as school-community partnership-building, resource mobilization, school-improvement planning, learning environment management and holistic child development, among others.


Note: SBM = School Business Management= School Based management (cf. explanation below)

The recent developments push toward integration of nutrition. Nutrition also has a crucial impact on student learning outcomes and it is part of the holistic child development.

According to you, what are the opportunities to include nutrition at policy level in a regional program such as Fit for School ? What are the challenges ?
Cécile Laborderie
MAKATI Environnement
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Re: Theme 1: Policy Issues on the Regional and Global Level

I agree that nutrition has a crucial impact on student learning outcomes having particular high impact on brain development in early child development. Globally, both health and education research points to the critical link between adequate nutrition/malnutrition and child learning. This is why many Ministries of Education in Southeast Asia prioritize school feeding programs for the early grades of primary school. One of the biggest challenges faced by such school-feeding program is that they are very expensive and logistically difficult to mount on a large-scale. Targeted school feeding programs are more affordable and manageable but these raise equity issues if only certain children are beneficiaries. Logistical management of food stuffs, cooking and distribution can be taxing for schools particularly those with limited resources. Wastage/food spoilage and food sanitation/contamination are also challenges.

One approach being explored by the FIT program was maximizing school gardens using local indigenous vegetable crops but this approach may not be suitable for large urban schools. The goal of was to develop low cost affordable and easy to prepare menus using locally available fruit and vegetables - partnering with parents and school communities for food preparation and distribution. Research was also being undertaken on low cost/low maintenance cooking technologies. Still early days yet, and unfortunately GIZ has decided not to give a major focus on the nutrition component of FIT due concerns re: sustainability issues. Government-led and financed initiatives, however are continuing. In Laos the national FIT team has recently signed an agreement with the World Food Program to encourage hand washing at critical times before meals.

The Philippines has been using Conditional Cash transfer programs targeting malnourished communities for some years with good results in terms of positive impact on student learning outcomes, participation/retention and cohort survival rates. The new Philippine government is now contemplating adding a daily rice allocation to the conditional cash transfer program. But again questions are being raised about logistics management in operationalizing such a program across the 40,000 primary schools in the country.

Note: SBM stands for school-based management where the school head in partnership with the local community, is empowered to make decisions re: contextualization of the curriculum, school improvement planning, resource mobilization and school-level capacity programs for teachers.
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Re: Theme 1: Policy Issues on the Regional and Global Level

Dear Katrin,

Thank you for the summary.

Just some comments:
- There is no lack of cooperation but there is a need of enhancing cooperation at high level
- I believe that teachers have some knowledge and capacity. There is a need of building their knowledge and capacity.

Thank you
Consolate
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  • JacquesPiP
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Re: WaterAid School WASH Research in Asia

Dear all,

Many thanks Katrin and Vielen Danke Susana for this much needed opportunity to share our reflections on these important issues.

I find it very stimulating to read the introduction of this discussion and the emphasis it puts on the need for leadership in relation to WinS. For sure, we are not merely talking about top down leadership from the Ministry of Education, but also about the kind of pervasive leadership needed amongst school, community and district level stakeholders for WinS to work. The introduction also refers to the promise of inter-sectoral collaboration in relation to SDGs with clear implications on WinS. Let us also consider the growing trend in development agencies to better integrate WASH-health, and food security, and notably in schools. How to better manage WinS? That is a big issue too, and it only takes a few visits to schools in areas of intervention of WinS programmes to realise how challenging it is to anchor new hygiene habits and to set up sustainable WinS O&M systems.

So this thematic discussion really addresses the big issues in relation to WinS. Where shall I start? Well, I would like to tell you about WaterAid recent WinS research - In view of its long-running concern about the state of WinS, and against the background of its extensive programmatic and policy work on the topic, WaterAid took the initiative in 2015 to undertake a programme of research. I joined the research team led by Richard Carter and was tasked to undertake four country case studies in south Asia (Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan). There were also several case studies in East Africa.

Much of the work consisted in reviewing and deepening existing WinS bottleneck analyses, or in the case of countries with no such analysis, undertaking them. In the four Asian countries, the research not only provided us with an opportunity to undertake comprehensive bottleneck analyses, but it allowed us to dig a bit deeper and explore the underlying causes of strengths and weaknesses. A wide range of political economy factors, often well-known by practitioners but unfortunately rarely factored in programmes, have thus been uncovered and analysed. The case study reports deliver interesting insights into WinS dynamics at central, district and local levels. Good practices from various organisations are also extracted and recommendations made to improve WinS programming.

Indeed, we cannot reasonably go on implementing business-as-usual approaches when we know deep inside the gap between the impact of most WinS programmes and the rosy pictures of WinS brochures. WinS programmes gives great pictures, which are real sources of inspiration for many of us. WinS also deliver the big numbers of beneficiaries that donors often look for. All great. But in the real world WinS is tough work and not many organisations can take pride in achieving decent levels of sustainability. My personal view is that collectively, we need a deeper, shared understanding of the problem. Many issues and obstacles are known but not made explicit. New strategies are needed, which address the underlying hindering factors and activate the potential for change.

Sharing the findings of our research - At this stage the case study reports are not yet in the public domain, and I think it is just a matter of weeks now. That being said, given the relevance of our findings to this thematic discussion, I am allowed to share here the executive summaries of the four reports. Hopefully they can help fuel exchanges. I am attaching the files to this post and I shall post a link to the full reports as soon as they are in the public domain.

Best wishes,

Jacques

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Jacques-Edouard Tiberghien, MSc. PhD.
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  • ThomasLangkau
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Re: Theme 1: Policy Issues on the Regional and Global Level

Dear all,

I would like to share L.Jelshyam Singh`s contribution with you, we received in a mail:

What we observed on WASH in schools are
1. there has not been a proper directives or policy in school education.
2. there is lack of responsibility of the school authorities in such management.
3. observed that the present political situation encourages lack of common interest and teachers are more on individualism in nature.
4. a separate mission / flagship program on WinS is urgently required .

I hope we can do something change the mindset of the people through dialogue and development involving women in planning and management.

with regards

L.Jelshyam Singh
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