About SWASH+

This section contains background information and highlights from the SWASH+ project:

About the SWASH+ project

The SWASH+ Project arose from a need to find answers to persistent questions. Though other researchers and implementers had grappled with uncertainties like, “What impact do school WASH interventions make on pupil absence?” “Do school WASH efforts influence households?” there was a surprising dearth of rigorous research to provide answers to these and other questions.

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What we learned

SWASH+ research revealed that school WASH is very important, some research findings defied common assumptions. There were some unexpected surprises and some findings were disappointing.

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Key achievements

Four key achievements have come out of the SWASH+ project:

  • increased school WASH funding
  • adoption of WASH curriculum and materials
  • SWASH sustainability charter
  • attention for menstrual hygiene

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Main messages

The research and implementation experience of SWASH+ reveal both helping and hindering forces behind the success and sustainability of school WASH. On the one hand, individual schools and community have demonstrated creativity and determination in providing school WASH services even within austere environments. Given the undeniable importance of water and sanitation, schools generally provide WASH services given the proper resources, and try to provide them well. For example, when SWASH+ provided schools with a limited supply of hypochlorite solution and educated them about safe water treatment, at least 40% continued treating their water, compared to 4.5% in control schools, even after supplies ran out.

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Top 10 research findings

The top 10 of SWASH+ research findings shows a variety of helping and hindering forces behind the success and sustainability of WASH in schools. The research findings are also available in a PDF.

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Lessons from the process

Two main lessons from the process are:

  • Evidence-based advocacy works.
  • Learning and advocacy (not direct service delivery) enables change on a larger scale.

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