Theme 2: Implementation Level

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  • Katrin
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Theme 2: Implementation Level

Thematic Discussion:

Managing WASH in Schools (WinS): Is the Education Sector ready?



Running for two weeks from Monday, September 19 to Friday, September 30 on the SuSanA online discussion forum, the discussion will look at how the education sector is taking WASH on board and how it can manage it.


In this discussion thread, the focus will be on

Theme II: Implementation Level


Starting this coming Monday, September 19, join us to post your questions, debate with lead experts in the field, and provide your insights and knowledge on the issue. We are very much looking forward to hearing about examples of WASH in Schools from all over the world
Dr. Katrin Dauenhauer
SuSanA Thematic Discussion Series Coordinator
Bonn, Germany
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  • BelindaA
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Re: Theme 2: Implementation Level

Dear Working Group Members,
We would like to begin with a bold statement . . . WASH in schools does not need more money! . . . . What do you think?

These pictures below tell an all too familiar story of mismanagement, lack of institutional accountability, liability and responsibility.
If Education sector is to take on fully, managing WASH in schools, is it only about the money?
Examples of mismanagement : Broken facilities- not useable! (Upper left); Handwashing facilities built with good intentions but no taps for children to use! (Upper right); Who is responsible when its broken, not working or inoperable? (Lower left); Under such situation, is it better to just build new? (Lower right)

Why is it easier to build new facilities than working with appropriate institutions like Education sector to manage what they have?
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As the WASH sector are we promoting mismanagement in schools, by building new facilities over focusing on operation and maintenance?
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Who is to blame? Donors, teachers, parents, engineers, governments????
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What does it take? Tell us . . . It’s your turn!
Belinda Abraham

Hanoi, Vietnam
+84 (0)1685580482
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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  • mallickdevelopment
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Re: TDS: Invitation to participate in our thematic discussion on "Managing WASH in Schools - Is the Education Sector ready?"

India has one of the largest numbers of school going children, especially in rural area. There are about 6.3 lakh rural schools both primary and upper primary with 8 crore school going children. Schools, which have water and sanitation facilities often, suffer from:
• Non-existent or insufficient water supply and hand washing facilities
• Toilets are not adapted to the needs of the children in particular girls
• Broken, unsafe water supply, sanitation and hand washing facilities
• Children with poor hygiene and hand washing practices
• Non-existent and irrelevant hygiene education for children
• Unhealthy and dirty class rooms and school compounds
• Improper operation and maintenance of the exiting facilities
Under these conditions, schools and community environment become unsafe places where-diseases are transmitted. For example, one of the major problems faced by hundreds of thousands school-age children by variety of pathogen and parasites. Parasites consume nutrients from the infected children bringing about or aggravating malnutrition and retarding children’s physical development. Infections leading to repeated diarrhoea and respiratory infections often compound the exiting poor health of children resulting in frequent absenteeism from school and affecting learning achievements. They also destroy issues and organs on which they live causing pain and various longer term health problems. Water and Sanitation related diseases that are affecting children include diarrhoea, dysentery, hepatitis, polio, trachoma, and scabies. All of these have compromised children’s attendance and performance at school; and not uncommonly, can result in death.
In is a response to the demand for quality basic education all over the country. The SSA programme is also an attempt to provide an opportunity for improving human capabilities to all children, through provision of community-owned quality education in a mission mode. SSA has a special focus on girl’s education and children with special needs.
Features of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA)
 To open new schools in those habitations which do not have schooling facilities and strengthen exiting school infrastructure through provision of additional class rooms, toilets, drinking water, maintenance grant and school improvement grants.
 Exiting schools with inadequate teacher strength are provided with additional teachers.
 Capacity of exiting teachers to be strengthened by extensive training grants for developing teaching-learning materials and strengthening of the academic support structure of a cluster, block and district level.
 Provide quality elementary education including life skills.
 Provide computer education to bridge the digital divide

The above mentioned observations from my evaluation in Odisha and Uttrakhand, India.
with warm regards
Ranjan Kumar Mallick
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  • JKMakowka
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Re: Theme 2: Implementation Level

Large institutions often suffer from issues related to inflexible procurement systems and various related issues that make it almost impossible (and often more expensive) to repair existing structures instead to building new.

The institutions operating the schools on the other hand usually don't have the budget nor the qualified personnel to do actual repair and maintenance beyond the most basic level.

Thus as soon as something larger to fix comes up, the higher level of institutional management is activated, which finds it almost impossible to repair instead of rebuild, thus the latter is done. And as the allocated budget does not account for dismantling the old broken stuff, you end up with the stereotypical new next to old pictures everywhere.

A way forward would probably be to outsource building maintenance to a local/regional private sector organization. Not because privatizations is necessarily the best option, but because smaller private enterprises usually have the needed flexibility in their procedures to manage repairs, while being able to bill the larger organization a regular sum that can be easily fit into administrative procedures.
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  • BelindaA
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Re: Theme 2: Implementation Level

Many thanks for your post! A very interesting proposal to outsource, in essence, operation and maintenance? Am I correct?

Has this been done in other places or does anyone have an example of this?

I have often reflected on the possibilities of small-scale, private sector or perhaps even NGO model to operation and maintenance.
It has many merits. Perhaps it is a niche that can be filled by NGOs/ private sector- as it is in many cases not seen threatening to Government authority and it works on a scale which is closer to the communities.
I would love to hear examples of this working in other parts of the world . . . Africa, South America, Asia????? Perhaps in developing countries- where examples of privatise model is already been working some time in cafeteria's and other services in schools!
Belinda Abraham

Hanoi, Vietnam
+84 (0)1685580482
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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  • ThomasLangkau
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Re: Theme 2: Implementation Level

Dear Working Group Members,

on behalf of Rickson Wachira (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) we would like to share some experiences regarding the situation at the Kibera Primary School in Nairobi with you. Please find his document attached.

Thanks to Rickson Wachira for this contribution!

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  • cecile
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Re: Theme 2: Implementation Level

Dear Thomas,

These pictures illustrate very well the challenges of implementation and the issues of operation and maintenance (including management, capacity and money).

Could you tell us more about Mr. Rickson Wachira? Can he join the discussion directly?

I see that he is from Nairobi Water. Does Nairobi Water have the responsibility of school facilities for water and sanitation?

According to him what are the possible solutions to improve the situation ?
Cécile Laborderie
MAKATI Environnement
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  • Nicole
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Re: Theme 2: Implementation Level

Dear all,

The pictures shared by Rickson via Thomas are shocking but unfortunately not an exception and we need to look at them carefully and take time to reflect on how we address and support WASH in Schools.

It's not new at all if we say 'hardware is not enough'. We say that for many years already but how does that reflect in our work and our approaches to support WASH in Schools? Since many years we talk about the fact that 'software' is needed as well but what do we mean by that and is 'software' really enough? A little bit of health education, a poster on hand washing and we hope it will all work. Approaches that focus on hardware only (maybe plus a little bit of 'pseudo software'), approaches that are not integrated in the education system in terms of structures and processes and that are not addressing accountability and ownership in an honest attempt are bound to fail. We can't be surprised anymore if we don't consider these well-known facts and see such pictures in the end.

Part of the responsibility is with WASH partners - international and national organizations supporting the implementation of WASH in Schools worldwide. It is our responsibility to stop working like that. If we continue to write proposals that promise to cover 400+ schools with WAHS facilities, including toilets in very short program periods (and ironically calling that 'scale-up') we can nothing but fail and we will knowingly create more of those pictures.

We have to work towards systematic approaches from the very beginning (not only after the pilot phase), e.g.:

- understand the education sector and work towards accountability
- integrate WASH in the education sector monitoring and other relevant processes
- facilitate the use of available funds (in many cases funds are available but not used or not used properly) or develop feasible models for resource mobilization according to the local context
- link WASH with school-based management and
- truly work with sub-national structures in the education sector (just having them sit in the back of the meeting room is not the right level of involvement) to make sure roles and responsibilities are clarified (including O&M)
- support the education sector to strengthen (intersectoral-)partnerships on sub-national and local level (with local authorities, communities, civil society and private sector).

Most important, we actually can't take over this work as 'outsiders/temporary programs' but instead we have to support government partners and other local partners to take the role in leading these change processes. This is all about change management in a cooperation system – a complex task that needs new approaches and time and we don't have that time since we are busy building all those toilets that we promised to build…

Looking forward to a fruitful discussion here over the next few days.

Greetings from Manila!
Nicole
Nicole Siegmund
Regional Program Coordinator

GIZ Regional Fit for School Program
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  • mathewmattam
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Re: TDS: Invitation to participate in our thematic discussion on "Managing WASH in Schools - Is the Education Sector ready?"

Recently I visited a school. I discussed with the teacher with regard to issues related to water and sanitation. She told me that their major concern is operation and maintenance of the toilets in the school. She then continued whether we can help them to maintain the infrastructure created by them. This is the issue in India. Everywhere huge investment is done to construct toilets, pipelines, tap connections, storage tanks etc, but there is no money to maintain it and also to run it. School management feels that there is no adequate fund allocated to maintain it and neither the governing board nor the government allocate adequate fund for operation and maintenance of the structures already created. The irony is that they can still allocate fund for constructing new infrastructures for sanitation but have no fund for the up keep of the existing infrastructures. The challenge is to find a solution to this to ensure WASH security in schools.
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  • AlexanderWinkscha
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Re: Theme 2: Implementation Level

Hello everyone – greetings from Phnom Penh!

My name is Alex and I am working for GIZ in the regional program “Fit for School”. I am based in Vientiane, Lao PDR and work closely with our teams in Lao and Cambodia – so most of what I will talk about below is of course heavily influenced by my experiences in working in these two education systems on the topic of WASH. In close collaboration with SEAMEO INNOTECH and the Ministries of Education of Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR and the Philippines the program operates in these four countries to support education systems in taking crucial steps in improving the WASH situation in schools at scale.

As most of us have witnessed over the years, many WASH programs start out with great enthusiasm and implement pilots that change communities and inspire people. However, as a wide-spread saying goes “there are many successful pilots that never go to scale”.
So in my post I´d like to tackle the question of how, from an implementation point of view, does one take a successful water and health intervention to scale within the education sector?

In my opinion, the major implementation challenges when taking WASH initiatives to scale are related to two dilemmas.
Dilemma no. 1 is that virtually all initiatives start out with models to test and verify their approach and assumptions. For WASH in schools this usually means setting up model schools. Which is of course a very hands-on micro-level intervention.
But then, when that critical point in time of going to scale comes, initiatives are required to engage with structures and processes on meso- and macro-level. The work on these levels is much less hands-on and much less tangible – harder to understand and harder to advocate. On top of that, processes then suddenly follow not only a different administrative logic but on many levels also a political logic that probably wasn’t present during the model-school phase.

Dilemma no. 2 is what I consider the “dilemma of the individual”.
Going to scale means working on structures and processes. But starting with model schools, even with the aim of institutionalization and a parallel investment in strengthening capacities in governmental (or other service delivery) structures from early on, initiatives in their initial stages are often dependent on sympathetic individuals (sympathetic to the initiative´s approach) and interventions often start out with a strong focus on individual capacities through e.g. trainings.
When the shift from model schools to strengthening or building up management, steering and monitoring structures occurs, also the focus needs to shift away from helpful individuals and individual capacities to institutional processes and structures.
But this is hard. Hard, because the intervention itself didn’t operate like this so far and the involved staff usually did not work like that to achieve success in the model schools.

From a very micro level (school) and very macro level (policymakers on national level) initiative suddenly the subnational structures take the center stage. It becomes all about province and district offices and officials. But do we know how to meaningfully engage them? Have we already engaged them? Have we thought about their role? These structures and officials will be unsure of their new role in the new initiative and may not know what is expected and how to meet those expectations. Oftentimes, the national level doesn’t really know what the subnational roles will be either. Especially provincial levels often have a hard time (and subnational offices have the added stress of having to engage with local power structures that might follow fundamentally different interests).

In the regional Fit for School program we try to address these difficulties through relatively traditional approaches. Cascade training structures, in which provincial officers take responsibility for training district officials and these in turn orient school principals and school communities on the program approach. When we plan a cascade training we try our level best to use existing meeting structures wherever possible to minimize training costs and work with standardized training materials (manuals, videos) in order not to dilute the messages (a potential 'weakness' of cascade trainings). But how can we make sure that beyond the training of individuals the provincial and district offices will continue to orient new staff and new school principals?

The answer in part lies in M&E. By establishing monitoring structures and creating reporting responsibilities (and pressures) the offices and structures have to find ways to produce answers to the monitoring questions. But even more so – and M&E feeds into that – I consider accountability to be the key. This implies that M&E should be based in the education sector to which the schools are accountable to. This issue of accountability is even more challenging in the case of WinS which is "owned" by several sectors but not one sector is accountable for. Or as a colleague of mine put it: "everybody's friend but nobody's lover". Again, this highlights the need for education to OWN WinS as an issue and see it as a key strategy for achieving the vision, mission, and goals of the education sector. There is a tendency for Ministries of Education to convene the other players and ask them what they can do for WinS – but they don't clearly define how education will play its part (only vague statements like "hygiene education").

Furthermore, through learning exchanges the program tries to train individuals and foster exchange and mutual learning between provincial and district offices. Here, too, we face the question of individual learning versus how can this tool become part of the repertoire of a Ministry of Education? Here in Lao, the Ministry of Education and Sports currently invests its own budget in orientation trainings on the program for district staff. Provincial education offices have started to use their own budget to allow certain districts to visit districts in other provinces that already successfully implement the program with their own budget. Thereby the learning exchanges not only introduce participants to the initiative, they also train provincial offices in prioritizing, require them to coordinate and actively organize learning and knowledge management.

I would be very interested to hear from others in the field what their perspectives on these issues are. How are you working with subnational government structures? What strategies do you employ to take a working intiative to scale without just pouring additional extrenal funding into the sector?

Looking forward to discuss these questions further!

Alex
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  • BelindaA
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Re: Theme 2: Implementation Level

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, now Laos and 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. I think the comments from Fit for School in Laos is alluding to the need for institutionalisation.
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

Hanoi, Vietnam
+84 (0)1685580482
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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  • BelindaA
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Re: Theme 2: Implementation Level

It would be really great to hear some examples more from other regions! I would love to hear from practitioners in Africa, and Latin America. I will also love to follow-up with Rickson, on what his team did to 'rescue' the schools in his words.
Belinda Abraham

Hanoi, Vietnam
+84 (0)1685580482
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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