Simple, SUSTAINABLE, SCALABLE, and systems thinking
The Fit for School (FIT) Approach is based on four core principles: simplicity, sustainability, scalability, and systems thinking.
Intervention packages need to be evidence-based, effective, and affordable. At the same time they need to be simple and feasible to be implemented and managed in the school context without overburdening school staff.
To ensure sustainability, the national government, specifically the Ministry of Education, needs to be in the lead. Fostering commitment and mobilizing allocation of human and financial resources are essential in institutionalization. Additional payments and monetary incentives are not part of the FIT Approach since these often lead to the collapse of activities which usually happens as soon as external funding ends. Fostering functional monitoring systems are crucial to inform programme management on various levels as well as to track, incentivize, and recognize progress.
Leveraging existing systems and resources are essential elements for scalability. The approach builds on and strengthens existing structures and mechanisms of the education sector, especially at the sub-national level, in order to establish sustainable programme management and implementation within the local structures.
Aligned with these principles, a package of low-cost WinS interventions was developed based on the country context and needs. Particular focus is placed on daily group hygiene activities, biannual deworming, and creating cleaning and maintenance routines for WASH infrastructure. Institutionalizing these interventions addresses some of the most prevalent diseases among school children.
Fit for school and school-based management
Recognizing school-based management (SBM) as an important cornerstone, the FIT Approach builds on the strength of schools as self-managing entities with the leadership and active involvement of education personnel, as well as the close collaboration with the larger school community. Every member of the community can contribute in various important ways to make the programme successful including the construction of washing facilities, participation in monitoring or the support of cleaning, repair, and maintenance. In this way, even schools with limited resources can implement effective health interventions and improve their learning environment one step at a time.