Simple, SUSTAINABLE, SCALABLE, and systems thinking
The Fit for School (FIT) Approach is based on four core principles: simplicity, sustainability, scalability, and systems thinking. An effective WinS program must be based on the best possible evidence and should be cost-effective and simple to facilitate implementation in many schools. To ensure sustainability, long-term allocation of government manpower and financial resources as well as functional monitoring systems that inform program management on various levels are crucial.
Leveraging existing systems and resources are essential elements for scalability. The approach works through the education sector, especially on sub-national level, in order to establish sustainable programme management and implementation within the local structures. Additional payments and monetary incentives are not part of the approach since this often leads to a collapse of activities as soon as external funding ends.
Aligned with these principles, a package of low-cost WinS interventions is developed based on the country context, with particular focus 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. To provide a healthy environment, schools need functional washing facilities and toilets. Basic and functional WASH infrastructure is a prerequisite for positive hygiene behaviour.
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 program successful including the construction of washing facilities, participation in monitoring or cleaning, repair and maintenance. In this way, even schools with limited resources can implement effective health interventions and improve their infrastructure one step at a time.