The Ministry of Education of the Government of Myanmar, with support from UNICEF, GIZ and Water Aid hosted the 6th WASH in Schools (WinS) International Learning Exchange (ILE) from 27 November to 1 December 2017 in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar.
The overall objective of the 6th WinS ILE was to facilitate learning on WinS among countries in Asia and the Pacific and to accelerate progress towards the aim of having improved and sufficient access along with good practices and sustainability related to WinS in the respective regions. The WASH in Schools ILE in Myanmar was an opportunity to review countries commitments to WinS and continue to build regional learning and partnerships. Previous WinS ILEs have been held in Philippines (2012), India (2013), Laos (2014), Sri Lanka (2015) and Indonesia (2016).
The 6th WinS ILE was attended by representatives from eleven countries from South Asia and Southeast Asia and Pacific including Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Sri Lanka, Mongolia, Philippines, Indonesia, Timor Leste, Papua New Guinea and Myanmar. A wide range of representatives joined from organizations and institutions active in the WASH in Schools sector such as UNICEF, WHO/UNCEF JMP, Save the Children, WaterAid, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Emory University, and others, together with individual WinS experts and advocates. The entire WinS-ILE attracted about 120 participants.
The meeting focused on country updates with regards to their WASH in Schools situation, a field trip to 12 schools in Bagan that allowed participants to get first-hand insights of realities on the ground, technical sessions on selected WinS topics, such as the alignment of national education monitoring systems with the SDGs, WinS programming in line with the GIZ/UNICEF proposed 3-Star-Approach and the inclusion of Menstrual Hygiene Management, closing with a collaborative country planning session.
GIZ organized and facilitated a session on WASH in Schools at scale and the 3-Star-Approach, highlighting the need to keep WinS program simple and embedded in existing education system structures in order for it to realistically reach scale and become sustainable. The Philippines and their implementation of the national WASH in Schools was highlighted as best practice, a process in which GIZ has been involved in comprehensively, monitored and managed through a contextualized 3-Star-Approach framework. The overall ILE evaluation revealed that this session and the concrete discussions that focused on the intersection of policy planning and actual implementation was found to be extremely valuable by all participants.
Acknowledging the global momentum for WinS and taking note of the significant developments such as the SDGs and their clearly defined set of WinS core and expanded indicators, the participants remarked on the notable progress since the previous WinS ILE in Jakarta, and identified challenges to developing at-scale WinS programmes and opportunities, including issues of data collection and reporting requirements under the SDGs. Special attention was given to the inclusion of Mentrual Hygiene Management and the prioritization of Operation and Maintenance consideration in programming WASH in Schools.
Participants acknowledged the need to accelerate progress in terms of coverage and quality of WASH in Schools services aligned with the SDGs so that all countries focus their attention on ensuring that all schools are providing e) basic drinking water; (f) single-sex basic sanitation facilities; and (g) basic handwashing facilities to achieve the national SDG commitments.