SEAMEO INNOTECH conducted in-depth visits to primary schools in Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, and the Philippines to determine national and sub-national systems that influence the delivery of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programs. The visits were part of the qualitative study commissioned to the Center by the UNICEF –East Asia Pacific Regional Office. The study assessed the status of WASH facilities in SEAMEO member countries in order to determine critical areas for improvement and possible solutions to sustain WASH programs.

Spearheaded by the Solutions Evaluation and Adaptation Unit of SEAMEO INNOTECH, the in-depth visits specifically looked into the conditions of the schools where WASH programs were either effectively practiced or supported, or the implementation remains a challenge.

One-on-one interviews and focus group discussions were likewise conducted with target key informants that represent a multi-sectoral mix of stakeholders involved in and committed to doing effective management of WASH activities in schools.

The study identified WASH programs and projects in schools, as well as issues, challenges and opportunities existing in the four countries. The issues and challenges were further categorized to specifically identify constraints in terms of financial resources, human capacity, data monitoring, policy framework, and awareness.

Among the many issues and challenges of implementing WASH programs, a common finding among the countries involved in the study is the lack of funding. Both Cambodia and Indonesia lack sufficient funding and financial mechanisms to support construction, operation and maintenance of WASH facilities. The Philippines experience a similar constraint in financial resources and Lao PDR particularly lacks a policy on subsidies for the sanitation sector.

The findings of the study will be presented at the SEAMEO High Officials Meeting, which is set to take place on 27-29 November 2012, with the intention to facilitate decision making in setting up enabling policies to enhance the quality of health and sanitation in primary schools.


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