Will local governments ever be able to meet policy obligations for WASH in schools? Join the debate!

Updated - Friday 16 November 2012

You are invited to join the 3rd and final e-debate on WASH in Schools, inspired by lessons from the SWASH+ Project .  It will take place from 5-23 November at: http://washurl.net/fzute8

Introduction to this third WASH in schools e-debate

The focus on this last e-debate is on whether local governments will or will not be able to generate enough resources to meet their policy obligations for WASH in Schools.

WASH in schools enjoys widespread recognition for its important role in achieving water, sanitation and hygiene for all and achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). A glance at the international policy arena reflects the recognition of WASH in Schools in several ways: 

  • MDG 2 focuses on achieving universal primary education. The target here is to achieve a situation where all boys and girls complete primary education by the year 2015.
  • MDG 3 focuses on gender issues and includes an associated indicator on schooling.
  • The Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI) from the World Summit on Sustainable Development specifically mentions the importance of school sanitation as a concrete step forward in tackling the MDG on water and the target on sanitation.
  • The Vision 21 – Water for People document (presented and endorsed at the 2 nd World Water Forum in 2000) outlined a series of targets for 2015 – including: 80 per cent of primary children educated about hygiene, and all schools equipped with facilities for sanitation and handwashing.

 Within WASH in Schools, four key factors need to be addressed: 

  1. Policy: There is a need to involve all stakeholders in developing an intersectoral approach to WASH in Schools that includes education, health, water and sanitation sectors. In practice, the implication is that improved coordination between those with responsibility for WASH in Schools must occur at the right times to ensure improved quality in WASH in schools programmes.
  2. Institutional ownership: An institutional sense of ownership between the different actors working on WASH in Schools is frequently lacking. Without such a mindset, WASH in Schools programmes will continue to fall in the cracks between responsibility and implementation.
  3. Links between people and technologies: It is important to link construction of facilities to the software aspects of WASH in Schools. It is also important to align the interests of the schools with those of parents and teachers so that construction, education and participation are linked together and operate in a sustainable and cost-effective way.
  4. Education and capacity-building: The resources required to provide teaching and learning, particularly in relation to hygiene education, are frequently absent in schools. Moreover, the use of creative techniques to convey key messages is rarely part of the teacher-training programme.

So the key question we are asking in this e-debate is: will local governments ever be able to generate enough resources to meet these policy obligations?

Background information on the e-debates

This is the last of a series of three e-debates, which look specifically at the issue of school WASH, inspired by questions asked during the implementation of the  SWASH+ Project , an action-research school WASH project in Kenya.

The first e-debate focused on monitoring for WASH in schools cited by the JMP Post-2015 working group. The key statement for the first e-debate was "The JMP Post-2015 Working Groups have chosen the right indicators for WASH in Schools".

This second e-debate focused on: Funding for direct delivery of school WASH services from NGOs and donors undermines the commitment of national governments and communities.

You can read the summaries of the previous e-debates at: http://www.washinschools.info/page/2033

Now this third e-debate focuses on whether local governments will or will not be able to generate enough resources to meet their policy obligations for WASH in Schools.

We now invite you to help fire up the discussion and ensure we are all being challenged by different viewpoints!

How can you join in?

  • Go to the e-debate page on IRCWASH.CreateDebate.com using this link: http://washurl.net/fzute8 . If you are new to CreateDebate.com, you will need to create a (free) account
  • Make sure you include your function title and organisation in your online profile so that people know who you are
  • Add your argument to the debate. You can link to another website as evidence for your argument or embed a relevant video
  • You can support, dispute or clarify arguments, and also vote for or against them
  • You can add as many arguments as you like but you can only cast one vote for each argument (you can change your vote)
  • Remember to keep discussions civilised. We will observe a zero tolerance policy for abusive language.

The E-debate team: Malaika Cheney-Coker, Learning and Influencing Advisor, Water Team, CARE USA, Dr Marielle Snel, Programme Officer, Africa Team and Cor Dietvorst, Programme Officer, Global Team, IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre.

If you need any support to access or post to the debate website please contact dietvorst@irc.nl


Adjusting toilets for children

Toilet use by young children is often scary for both parents and children. One deterrent to use is a large opening. Yet there are few specific papers on making child-friendly toilet designs. Those available usually deal with school toilets. 

Adjusting toilets for children