Applied research is integral to the Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) of the FIT Approach. Strengthening the evidence for Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) in Schools and demonstrating impact of interventions under real-life conditions helps in advocacy, supports mobilizing resources and boosts communication with government partners and within the wider international WASH in Schools community.

A number of studies were conducted and/or are still ongoing to gain deeper insights in various aspects of WASH in Schools. Inspired by an earlier study on health outcomes linked to FIT/Essential Health Care Program interventions in the Philippines, a larger FIT Program Assessment Study (FIT-PAS) was conducted in Cambodia, Indonesia and Lao PDR. This two-year longitudinal study looked at impacts of the three FIT interventions (daily handwashing, toothbrushing with fluoride toothpaste and biannual deworming) on body-mass index and intestinal worm infections of children, as well as the incidence and severity of tooth decay. Moreover, the impact of the programme on the school environment measured by availability and usability of WASH facilities was also evaluated. Study results show positive effects on school environment, hygiene behavior and disease prevention in schools with FIT interventions compared to control schools.

In addition, qualitative and observational studies on handwashing and toothbrushing behavior, as well as WASH in Schools management and related aspects have been successfully concluded, while another one is ongoing. More details of the research conducted in Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR and the Philippines can be found in the resources section.