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Our Work

Model development for sustainable and Scalable School Health

The Fit for School Program in Cambodia started in 2011 with the identification of model schools, followed by school community orientations and community-supported construction of group washing facilities. Students from the 10 model schools started conducting daily group hygiene activities in December 2012. To foster exchange of learning within the region, Cambodia hosted a delegation of FIT Implementers from Indonesia in June 2013, and in the same year implementers from Cambodia visited Lao PDR.

By 2014, the experiences from program implementation in model schools were consolidated to develop the Fit for School ‘School Community Manual’ and ‘Basic Orientation Video’ for Cambodia. These materials are key to capacity development and provide implementation guidance for stakeholders on school and community level and are currently being used to scale-up the program to other areas in Cambodia.

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Scale-up process and planning

In 2014 the program conducted a Scale-up Readiness Assessment workshop with government partners from MoEYS, MoH and MRD, and the results were used to plan for scale-up beyond the model schools. Based on this, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports has committed to a scale-up of the Fit for School Program to the whole province of Kompot that would cover all 308 public primary schools with almost 90,000 students.

Alignment and Collaboration for WASH in Schools

Intersectoral collaboration and alignment with the education and WASH sectors within the country are being ensured via programs participation in the Education and WASH sector working groups. The program is part of an initiative of the MoEYS School Health Department together with UNICEF to adapt the international ‘Three Star Approach for WASH in Schools’ to the Cambodian context in form of ‘Minimum Requirements for WASH in Schools’. This step-wise approach aims to support schools to gradually improve water, sanitation and hygiene according to their resources and capacities to eventually meet the national standards in the long run.

WASH infrastructure and technology TRANSFER for group facilities

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In order to scale-up the program and enable schools to conduct daily group hygiene activities functional group washing facilities are required. Don Bosco Technical School was identified as a reliable partner in to prefabricate WASHaLOT group washing facilities in Phnom Penh. After capacity development and optimizing the production process, Don Bosco Technical School now also delivers the WASHaLOT to other agencies interested in a sustainable, low-cost group washing facility. This collaboration supports technical training programs and youth employment in Cambodia.

Research, Monitoring and Evaluation

Cambodia was part of the Regional Fit Program Assessment Study, a 2-year longitudinal study that aims to determine the effects of the programme interventions on health status, school attendance, and WASH indicators in schools. The government partners conducted the data collection with technical support from GIZ. The joint research effort aimed to build national research capacity and increase ownership of the results. In summary, the findings from the study are:

School Health Situation in FIT Intervention and Control Schools in Cambodia

Benefits of the FIT Programme

  • High prevalence of thinness (1 out of 3 children)
  • High prevalence of dental caries (almost 100%)
  • Low prevalence of worm infections (1 out of 10 children)
  • Limited access to well-maintained WASH facilities in schools
  • Significantly improves access to handwashing facilities, water and soap
  • Stimulates healthy hygiene practices, such as individual handwashing with soap at critical times
  • Prevents new dental caries by 20%

Regular monitoring was conducted in all model schools, using the adapted Fit for School monitoring tool. The monitoring process is a self-assessment involved different stakeholders on school level and aims to ensure implementation quality and community involvement. Through the monitoring, schools received feedbacks that are crucial to improvement of their implementation of the program.

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