Promoting School WASH Solutions at Scale through Action-Research: SWASH+ Phase II in Kenya (CARE, USA)

  • mcheneycoker
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Promoting School WASH Solutions at Scale through Action-Research: SWASH+ Phase II in Kenya (CARE, USA)

I would like to introduce to you a project that I am involved with as "Senior Learning and Influencing Advisor" and which is funded by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation:

Title of grant: SWASH+ (Phase 2) Sustaining and Scaling School Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Plus Community Impact




Name of lead organization: CARE
Primary contact at lead organization: Peter Lochery, Water Team Director; Malaika Cheney-Coker, Senior Learning and Influencing Advisor, Water.
Grantee location: Atlanta, Georgia, USA (Care USA headquarters)
Developing country where the research is being tested: Kenya
Start and end date: November 2012 – March 2016 (Phase 1 was from Sept 1, 2006 to August 30, 2011 and was also funded by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, see here in grant database ) *
Grant size in USD: $1,838,868 as per BMGF grant database )

Short description of the project (Phase 2):

The overall goal of SWASH+ Phase II is to improve the sustainability and effectiveness of school water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) at scale in order to support the Government of Kenya’s Comprehensive School Health Policy. The project has the following key objectives:

• Decision-makers have access to and act on high quality data to make investment decisions to provide school WASH services.
• Decision-makers have access to information on school WASH life cycle costs and allocate resources accordingly.
• Decision-makers access learning and take measures to improve school WASH governance, inclusive of accountability and support at all levels.

Like Phase I, phase II is based on an action-research-advocacy approach that seeks to test and promote viable solutions to implementing school WASH services with officials at school, county and national level.

The project consists of a research arm and an advocacy arm.

The research arm of the project is comprised of the following studies:

• Life Cycle Cost Study (completed) – This study entailed a cost analysis conducted in Kisumu, Nyeri and Kilifi counties of what it takes to implement and maintain a school WASH system over a 10-year period. It demarcates costs into capital, operations and maintenance, recurrent, etc, for more efficient budgeting and attention to oft-neglected costs.
• Private Sector Trial (ongoing)– Working with social enterprise eco-latrine organization Sanergy, this study is investigating the outcomes and feasibility of introducing private sector provision and maintenance of eco-latrines in underserved urban primary schools in Nairobi.
• Education Management Information System (EMIS) (ongoing) trial – The EMIS trial has focused on the use of mobile phone-based data collection (in Kisumu, Nyeri and Kilifi counties and at national level) to improve the quality and compliance of reporting from schools, including on WASH data.
• Governance trial (ongoing) – This trial in Kisumu, Nyeri and Kilifi counties is comprised of several arms that experiment with improving communication flows to and from parents, increasing incentives and promoting accountability for providing school WASH services. It features ideas such as using mobile phone-based ratings for services, and promoting WASH messages and support through take-home calendars.

The policy arm of the project has thus far focused on using the results of the life cycle cost study to recommend more and better allocations to decision makers within the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, including the Budget Task Force. In addition, SWASH+ advocates within the ministry, for the adoption of mobile-based data collection by government.

* Information about Phase 1 of the project (2006-2011)
Sustaining and Scaling School Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Plus Community Impact, the SWASH+ project, is a five-year applied research project to identify, develop, and test innovative approaches to school-based water, sanitation and hygiene in Nyanza Province, Kenya.
Since September 2006, SWASH+ has worked in 185 primary schools in four districts in Nyanza Province, setting up school water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services, gathering data, learning about challenges and testing solutions for school WASH.
The project was designed with a strong advocacy-for-policy-change focus in order to contribute to successful implementation of school WASH.


Research or implementation partners: Government of Kenya (Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST) and Ministry of Public Health) CARE, Emory University, Georgetown University

Links, further readings – results to date:

o See attachments for more info on the trials
o Human interest stories from Phase II schools can be found here: water.care2share.wikispaces.net/School+WASH#Resources-Kenya
o Extensive documentation on the findings from Phase I can be found at www.washinschools.info/page/1380 or www.swashplus.org


Current state of affairs:

All research studies in the project are either completed or well underway. Findings on the private sector trial and governance trials will emerge later this year. The policy work is coming into greater focus in advance of an annual review meeting in May.

Biggest successes so far:

One of the most notable milestones is the government’s recent decision, in the light of action research by SWASH+ and others, in Phase I and Phase II, to increase their recommended budget allocations for a variety of school WASH costs—including capital, operations and maintenance, along with other related expenditures.

In 2014, overall public primary school per-pupil grants from the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology increased from KShs 1,020 (10.7 USD) to KShs 1,356(14.23 USD) per child, per year. WASH-related budget lines increased by 64 percent, from the initial KShs 137 (1.44 USD) to a total of KShs 225 (2.36 USD) per child, which cover 98% of life cycle costs (LCCs) for existing school WASH systems and 28% of LCCs for systems requiring installation. The new KShs 225 also includes additional budget lines for Environmental Sanitation (KShs 50 (0.52 USD)) and Sanitary Towels (KShs 15 (0.16 USD)). WASH-specific vote heads were increased from KShs 28 (.293 USD) to KShs 105 (1.10 USD) (a difference of KShs 77 (.81 USD)).

These recent increases suggest that the SWASH+ partners’ approach of close engagement with the Government of Kenya over the long term—through sharing research data in particular—positively influenced the MoEST’s budget decisions. The SWASH+ project was also nominated to sit on an Advocacy Task Group co-chaired by the MoH and MoEST—an indicator of the credibility built up by the project.

Main challenges / frustration:

During the design of the second phase, a much more hand-in-hand relationship with government was envisioned, with partners from both ministries being the ones to drive the research agenda. However, election cycles, bureaucracy, the impracticality of routing project funds through government, and the loss of initial champions within the former ministry of education are some challenges that have stymied a more dynamic partnership with government. This notwithstanding, collaboration from ministry partners has been strong, if somewhat less hands-on than initially envisioned.

I am available for questions or comments you may have.

Malaika[/color]


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  • arno
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Re: Promoting School WASH Solutions at Scale through Action-Research: SWASH+ Phase II in Kenya (CARE, USA)

Hi Malaika
Thanks for all the details describing the SWASH Plus Project. I can see lots of progress is being made. I have a few questions for you.

1. Is the project entirely a research investigation or is there an implementation component? That is, have the schools and school administration been funded to stimulate their interest and participate in the project? It is a significant step to see that the Ministry is increasing its funding towards school WASH as a result of the project. Has there been funneling of development aid funds from elsewhere in this equation?

2. I am wondering whether the schools differentiate between CAPEX (capital expenditure) and OMEX (OPEX) (operating expenditure) when they perform their budgeting or is there one pot of money for both?

3. In calculating the Total LCC (life cycle cost) how did the project discount the capital costs and if so over how many lifetime years in order to arrive at the figure of 800 KEH per year per pupil?

4. I can see it was the head teachers in the schools that got most involved in the mobile-based data collection with excellent levels of participation. What about the school administration officials? Could they also get involved in the governance surveys? What will happen to these data in terms of packaging them for institutional learning?

5. How are the Sanergy ecosan projects going? Is there positive receptivity among pupils and school staff? Do the staff use these toilets? Gardens being set up for the pupils to take care of? Any LCC data linked to collection, treatment and reuse?

6. Are there any data to assess a school's capacity to maintain its water supply and toilets? Where are the weak links in the value chain and where is internal funding still lacking?

7. What about the impacts on school attendance and "happiness" among the youngest children? Can these be monitored using the mobile-based data collection? Any knock-on impacts on the families/communities and their use of toilets at home? Knowledge about urine as a fertilizer can be a valuable take home message and activity. Any possibility of linking the project up with Community Health Club model pioneered by Africa Ahead (see here on the forum: forum.susana.org/forum/categories/5-clts...inistry-of-health-in )?

Best wishes as 2015 progresses.
--Arno

Arno Rosemarin PhD
Stockholm Environment Institute
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www.ecosanres.org
Current project affiliation: www.susana.org/en/resources/projects/details/127
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  • campbelldb
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Re: Promoting School WASH Solutions at Scale through Action-Research: SWASH+ Phase II in Kenya (CARE, USA)

Thank you for this interesting summary Malaika, I will be sure to share this with WASHplus and USAID staff.

Best regards,
Dan Campbell

Dan Campbell
USAID Water Communications and Knowledge Management Project
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  • mcheneycoker
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Re: Promoting School WASH Solutions at Scale through Action-Research: SWASH+ Phase II in Kenya (CARE, USA)

Hi Arno,

Thanks for your interest in the project. Please see some responses to your questions below:

1. Is the project entirely a research investigation or is there an implementation component? That is, have the schools and school administration been funded to stimulate their interest and participate in the project? It is a significant step to see that the Ministry is increasing its funding towards school WASH as a result of the project. Has there been funneling of development aid funds from elsewhere in this equation? There was a more substantial implementation component in Phase I so the schools got both hardware and software from SWASH+. However, it was a relatively small number (200 schools) as the implementation was only instrumental to the research, rather than an end in and of itself. Similarly any implementation in Phase II is instrumental and even more limited as far as material benefit. Schools aren't receiving any funding and where they are receiving hardware (urban private sector trial of 20 schools) they have to come up with part of the costs, to simulate a real-world scenario. As far as development aid funds from elsewhere, I'm not privy to this information, however, the government increased its overall per pupil allocation to schools, not just for WASH, in support of a new school health strategy.

2. I am wondering whether the schools differentiate between CAPEX (capital expenditure) and OMEX (OPEX) (operating expenditure) when they perform their budgeting or is there one pot of money for both? They have not differentiated heretofore, hence the need for disseminating info on life cycle costs and appropriate budgeting guidelines.

3. In calculating the Total LCC (life cycle cost) how did the project discount the capital costs and if so over how many lifetime years in order to arrive at the figure of 800 KEH per year per pupil? Not sure what is meant by discounting capital costs but to the second half of the question, LCCs were calculated over a 10 year period.

4. I can see it was the head teachers in the schools that got most involved in the mobile-based data collection with excellent levels of participation. What about the school administration officials? Could they also get involved in the governance surveys? What will happen to these data in terms of packaging them for institutional learning? If by school administration officials other than head teachers you mean school management committees, I don't know the answer. This will depend on the Government of Kenya policies for collecting data from the schools. Accessibility is a whole other story and will also depend on the GoKs progress on an EMIS platform.

5. How are the Sanergy ecosan projects going? Is there positive receptivity among pupils and school staff? Do the staff use these toilets? Gardens being set up for the pupils to take care of? Any LCC data linked to collection, treatment and reuse? Unfortunately I can't answer this question with much specificity until the results come out. There are no gardens in the intervention and yes, LCC data is already available as it's based on the Sanergy model.

6. Are there any data to assess a school's capacity to maintain its water supply and toilets? Where are the weak links in the value chain and where is internal funding still lacking? The governance trial will hopefully surface some interesting findings about how schools' administrative capacity, incentives for and prioritization of WASH individually affect operations and maintenance. As far as funding, our LCC data points out that though current government allocations are in theory sufficient to cover existing maintenance costs, there is a funding gap (currently filled mainly by donors) as far as new infrastructure.

7. What about the impacts on school attendance and "happiness" among the youngest children? Can these be monitored using the mobile-based data collection? Any knock-on impacts on the families/communities and their use of toilets at home? Knowledge about urine as a fertilizer can be a valuable take home message and activity. Any possibility of linking the project up with Community Health Club model pioneered by Africa Ahead (see here on the forum: forum.susana.org/forum/categories/5-clts...inistry-of-health-in)? All interesting ideas though not currently in the scope of SWASH+ II. Please see www.swashplus.org for data on the impact on attendance (our research found an increase of up to 39% in girl's attendance).
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