WASH in Schools: Insights from Water for Women

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This learning brief synthesises and shares lessons from Water for Women’s investment in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in schools (WinS) as part of 20 projects led by civil society organisation (CSO) partners, with a mix of support for improved WASH facilities and activities aimed at WASH behaviour change. Combined, these activities reached more than 600 schools across 15 countries in Asia-Pacific during Water for Women's first phase from 2018 to 2022.

This brief summarises the nature of school WASH improvements being realised, provides an overview of successful approaches employed by partners, lessons learnt and recommendations for sector consideration. It is based on analysis of secondary data sources available from Water for Women projects, including mid-term reviews, knowledge and learning products, project reporting and selected case studies.

In brief

  • WASH in Schools is critical to improving child health, safety and school attainment.
  • Successful WASH in Schools programs require significant and long-term program presence in communities.
  • The high cost of construction of WASH facilities in schools has been a major impediment.
  • Strengthening WASH in Schools systems can influence national practices and support the institutions responsible for WASH and education policy development.

Water for Women acknowledges Sue Cavill for the development and collation of this learning brief. The following partners made contributions to its development: Jen Johnstone (Habitat for Humanity), Anirban Chatterjee (RTI), Akhila Sivadas (Centre for Advocacy and Research, India), Shiv Nair (World Vision), Lien Pham (Thrive Networks/East Meets West), David Clatworthy (International Rescue Committee), Charlotte Flew (WaterAid), John Kelleher (Plan International Australia), Stevie Ardianto Nappoe (Yayasan Plan International Indonesia), Gabrielle Halcrow (SNV Netherlands Development Organisation), Sarah Custer Lalanne (iDE), Robert Dreibelis (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine). We also recognise their leadership and support for improving WASH services in schools across Asia and the Pacific.

Thanks also to the Water for Women Fund Coordinator team, who played a substantial role in the development of this brief: Stuart Raetz, Kate Orr, Gowri Pincombe, Lee Leong, Jose Mott, Dr Matt Bond and Dr Alison Baker. Finally, special thanks to Bianca Nelson Vatnsdal and Mia Cusack (Water for Women), who led the graphic design of this brief.

This work was supported by the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

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