In 2011 the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) commissioned the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH with the implementation of the Regional Fit for School Program. The programme is implemented in partnership with the SEAMEO Regional Centre for Educational Innovation and Technology (SEAMEO INNOTECH).
Since its inception in November 2011, the GIZ Regional Fit for School (FIT) Program worked towards the adaptation of the FIT Approach to the country context in preparation for a later scale-up. The approach focuses on evidence-based and cost-effective interventions and the improvement of schools as healthy and enabling learning environments. Scalability is planned from the beginning and interventions that are not scalable with the limited available resources are not introduced.
With technical assistance from the GIZ FIT Programme, respective education ministries and departments implement the programme in model schools in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Indonesia (West Java), and the Philippines. Building on the FIT Approach, the interventions implemented include:
- Daily handwashing with soap as a group activity;
- Daily toothbrushing with fluoride toothpaste as a group activity;
- Bi-annual school-based deworming according to the National Deworming Programme and guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO).
At the same time, the programme focuses on simple improvements of the school environment to establish a healthy and enabling learning environment in participating schools. The construction of group washing facilities is a crucial first step to allow for the daily group practices and has proven to be an entry point for other general and further improvements of the school environment. In addition, a focus is on cleaning, operation and maintenance of existing WASH facilities and school grounds. The involvement of parents and the wider community has strengthened collaboration and ownership of parents and it is expected that the programme facilitates further community involvement, which is at the core of school based management.
A key element of the programme activities was the adaptation of training materials and implementing guidelines for school, district and provincial levels to the respective country context. These materials, which are now available in Bahasa Indonesia, Khmer, Lao, and English, are essential for expanding the programme to more schools.