Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene in Primary Schools in Southeast Asia

SEAMEO INNOTECH was commissioned by UNICEF-East Asia Pacific Regional Office (EAPRO) to undertake this short-term, simple qualitative study that would assess the status of WASH facilities in primary schools in the 11 SEAMEO-member countries. This includes the availability and functionality of WASH facilities, the scope of complementary WASH in schools programs, and to the extent possible, analysis of the impact of WASH facilities in schools to school performance indicators such as attendance, repetition rate and dropout rate.


The study also aims to identify critical areas for improvement and possible solutions to sustain WASH in schools. The findings of the study were presented at the SEAMEO High Officials’ Meeting in November 2012 to help make informed decisions in future development of enabling policy frameworks to enhance the quality of health and education in primary schools.


In-Depth Country Study Visits


While the study covers all 11 member countries through a review of secondary data such as reports, articles, and including solicited information from MOEs and partners, more in-depth research were conducted in Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, and the Philippines.


The in-depth country study aims to understand more deeply the actual issues and opportunities related to implementing WASH in schools programs, including planning, operations and management, as well as policy formulation. This phase included visits to four countries to conduct one-on-one key informant interviews and/or small focus group discussions in order to address the information gaps identified in the desk review and to provide more qualitative data to better understand the quantitative data gathered from secondary sources in the desk review.


The interview consisted of three key areas: 1) national policies and frameworks; 2) WASH in schools status; and 3) issues and challenges related to planning, coordination, implementation, management and operation of WASH in schools projects and/or programs.


WASH in schools encompasses not only the education sector. Related issues cut across different sectors including health, finance, public works, and rural development both at national and sub-national levels. Different international development partners and local non-government organizations are likewise engaged. Given this, the targeted key informants represented a multi-sectoral mix of stakeholders who are directly and currently involved in and committed to doing effective management (i.e., planning or policy formulation, coordination, implementation, maintenance, monitoring, and evaluation) of WASH in schools at national and sub-national levels.


The in-depth country study visits were conducted from April to August 2012. The initial findings of the study were presented at the 3rd East Asia Conference on Sanitation and Hygiene in Bali, Indonesia in September 2012. The draft report was presented by the Center Director to the 48th SEAMEO Council in November 2012, and submitted to UNICEF-EAPRO in December 2012 for feedback. The report was finalized and submitted to UNICEF-EAPRO in March 2013, and published by UNICEF-EAPRO in December 2013.

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