key areas of implementation in lao pdr
The Fit for School ‘School Community Manual’ and ‘Basic Orientation Video’ are key to capacity development and provide implementation guidance for stakeholders on school and community level and have been used extensively to scale-up the program in Lao PDR. Together with other materials, such as a study of the successful scale-up in Sisattanak and a catalogue documenting creative cost-efficient group washing facility designs, the program materials are being used as training materials to instruct education officials, principals, and teachers on scaling-up Fit for School to improve WASH in Schools.
One of the model districts, Sisattanak district, was able to expand the program from five model schools to almost all primary schools in the district (22 public primary schools and 17 private primary schools) on their own initiative. The results of a qualitative study on this ‘Sisattanak scale-up case’ were used to document the learning on processes and mechanisms used to initiate and manage the scaleup. Those learnings are now used for other districts to learn from in form of a video for district management level. In additon the learnings and findings will be published as a ‘research update’ together with the regional partner SEAMEO INNOTECH.
MoES national level scale-up planning and initiative
With a cascade training model, the MoES national level has oriented all provincial education offices and subsequently, the national and provincial level jointly oriented district officials, who are in turn tasked with orienting schools in their districts.
Complementing the initial trainings, learning exchanges have been organized for provincial education officials to exchange on the implementation of Fit for School their provinces. Additionally, learning exchanges for district level education officials have been organized to focus on issues of implementation quality and exchange on strategies employed by the pedagogical advisors on how to effectively support, mentor and motivate the school principals.
Research, Monitoring and Evaluation
Lao PDR was part of the Regional Fit for Program Assessment Study, a 2-year longitudinal cohort study to determine the effects of the program interventions on health status, school attendance, and WASH indicators. The MoES and the MoH, together with University partners conducted the data collection with support from the GIZ Fit for School research team. The study revealed that FIT model schools had better access to handwashing facilities, water and soap due to the school-led construction of multiple group handwashing stations. Encouraged by the program implementation, model schools even went beyond intended program activities by also building handwashing facilities for individual use. Model schools had twice as many clean and functional toilets (38%) compared to control schools (16%). Daily group toothbrushing in schools prevented 37% of new caries lesions. The study also showed that implementation fidelity had a big effect on the health outcomes of children, with schools that implemented FIT activities daily and set up schedules and routines also seeing more notable health benefits from program implementation.
key achievements in lao pdr
As of 2019, provincial and district officials report that more than 2,200 primary schools across all 18 Lao provinces are implementing Fit for School activities, which represents a quarter of all 8,887 primary schools (public and private) in the country.
In 2014, the District Education Bureau of Sisattanak was able to expand the program to all primary schools in the district by themselves, covering 22 public primary schools and 17 private primary schools. A joint study with SEAMEO INNOTECH and MOES describes how Sisattanak District was able to scale-up the Fit for School program to all of the primary schools. This study and accompanying video are now used to guide other DESB and PESS offices in the scale-up process in other districts and provinces of Lao PDR.
After the self-initiated scale-up in Sisattanak district in Vientiane Capital, Taphabhat district in Bolikhamxay province is the second district in Lao to scale up FIT by themselves to all its primary schools – 32 in total. The success was featured as part of the provincial presentation during a 2018 learning exchange between all implementing provincial education offices.
Implementation of Fit for School activities in the model schools supported during phase I of the program has been handed over to the MoES in 2015. Since then, annual monitoring has revealed that consistently more than 80 percent of the 22 schools have kept up the implementation of daily group hygiene activities and have kept on improving their overall WASH situation.
At the end of March 2018, 151 pre-schools and 32 secondary schools in various provinces have started to implement the Fit for School activities. Sisattanak District in Vientiane capital formulated plans to expand beyond all the primary schools that now implement the program and scale up further to pre-schools and secondary schools in the district. As of June 2019, District officials in 5 provinces have received orientation on how to improve WASH in pre-schools.
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