Research for Policy Changes

SWASH+

Since 2006, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has supported the Sustaining and Scaling School Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Plus Community Impact program (SWASH+) in Kenya, contributing $9.5 million to CARE for the 5-year project. The initiative is an action-research and advocacy project focusing on increasing the scale, impact, and sustainability of WASH interventions in Kenya. It is being implemented by a consortium of the NGOs, including CARE, the Center for Global Safe Water at Emory University, the Great Lakes University of Kisumu, the Government of Kenya, and previously Water.org.

Project objectives

  • Identify, develop, and test innovative approaches to school- and community-based water, sanitation, and hygiene interventions that promote sustainability and scalability
  • Provide and test an integrated safe water, sanitation, and hygiene-promotion program in schools and communities that maximizes impact, equity, sustainability, and cost-effectiveness
  • Positively influence Kenyan government investments in school water, sanitation and hygiene by leveraging learning on sustainable, scalable, and effective approaches

Successes

  • The government of Kenya has expressed interest and openness to piloting new unified monitoring and evaluation systems between ministries and has also agreed on the need for a unified monitoring tool between ministries
  • The government of Kenya has allocated $3.4 million for sanitary pads for school girls in 2011
  • Funding for school WASH has doubled to $840,000/year, with potentially more to come
  • The Ministry of Education has adopted a WASH curriculum and materials for in-service teacher training

Challenges

  • School WASH is more complex than generally understood. Project partners have identified a variety of gaps in typical interventions related to menstrual management, latrine maintenance, and anal cleansing and in the overall enabling environment for school WASH
  • Sustainability of gains is endangered by a lack of supporting systems. While 87% of schools provided drinking water in a surprise visit after 3 years, only 27% had treated it; while 63% had hand washing water, only 8% had soap available. This suggests a lack of supporting systems; for example, schools in Kenya currently have no budget for soap and chlorine solution

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