Nepal - The School Sanitation and Hygiene Education (SSHE) Programme of NEWAH

Updated - Thursday 13 April 2006

Snel, Marielle and Rayamajhi, Manoj (2004)

The purpose of this case study is to disseminate the approach taken by NEWAH, an NGO in Nepal, in its implementation of School Sanitation and Hygiene Education (SSHE). It is a way of sharing NEWAH's experience with similar organisations in the same field. NEWAH has been implementing a package of interventions that it believes is acceptable and effective. This case study is based on the NGO’s documents, reports and evaluations and a review of relevant literature.

The package of hardware and hygiene education implemented by NEWAH’s programme has achieved a good degree of behavioural change in the selected schools and their surrounding communities. The hardware provided – latrines and drinking water – meets the concrete needs of the students. Girls are encouraged to stay in school by the provision of latrines for both sexes. Students find hygiene education interesting and see it as relevant. They are encouraged through Child-to-Child activities to take what they have learnt back home to their brothers and sisters. For the community, the sanitary facilities in the schools act as models, with students, teachers, Health Motivators and Community Health Volunteers acting as motivators. At the same time, the older children are bringing home health education messages.

However, the programme still requires more and continuous strengthening. The area of sustainability is still weak. This is especially true regarding financial sustainability. When money is available it still does not go into the SSHE projects. The continuity of hygiene education is also in doubt. Teachers do not seem sufficiently motivated to continue activities once the support and rewards stop; Health Motivators are unlikely to continue after the end of supervision and pay. In view of this, the role of the CHVs, who are permanent local workers and who get supervision and support from the District Public Health Office, should be reconsidered and perhaps strengthened.

Considering the issues from a broader perspective, decision-makers should remember that today's children are future citizens and guardians. Simple sanitation and hygiene education helps them to grow to their full potential, with fewer infections and episodes of sickness that limits their ability to study. Providing such facilities, within a structure that will keep them functioning into the future, should be put higher on the list of the nation’s priorities.

The case study was abstracted from: Snel, M. (2004), "THE WORTH OF SCHOOL SANITATION AND HYGIENE EDUCATION (SSHE)", IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre, Delft, the Netherlands.


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Sanitation on the other side of the wall

A passionate school teacher took the lead in making his school a model in sanitation. However, the ground in front of the school is an open defecation area. This is the case at the government primary school in Madanpur Khadar, a resettlement colony on the periphery of Delhi. The school headmaster, Shamin Ahmed, with the support from a local NGO, CASP Plan (a Program Unit of Plan India), has made tremendous efforts towards improving the water and sanitation conditions in the school, which had very challenging circumstances. The headmaster has been proactive in mobilizing funds to make school toilets functional and water accessible to the children and taught them hygiene practices.

Ironically, while the efforts inside the school are towards a sanitized environment, the school boundary wall on the outside is used by the community members for open defecation.

Sanitation on the other side of the wall