11-15 November 2019 – Government leaders, officials and development partners from fifteen countries met in Manila, Philippines for the 7th Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Schools (WASH) in Schools International Learning Exchange (WinS ILE). Hosted by the Philippine Department of Education with support from GIZ, UNICEF and Save the Children Philippines., the event’s theme was on “Bringing the WinS SDGs to scale”.
The event brought people together from South, Southeast Asian countries and Pacific Islands to facilitate sharing of experiences and knowledge on WinS. Highlighting the enabling environment for WinS, countries shared practices and challenges on aspects such as policy and planning, institutional capacity building, performance management and WinS financing. Technical sessions on topics such as Menstrual Hygiene Management, Behavior Change, Disease Prevention, WASH in Early Childhood Care and Development, WASH in Disaster Risk Reduction and Management and Operation and Maintenance brought about new practices and cutting-edge information relevant to the field.
The efforts and commitment of the Philippine Department of Education was especially highlighted during the third day of the event wherein delegates visited schools and had discussions with Schools Division Offices and Regional Offices. During which, the conference participants saw the WinS implementation in a few schools in the Philippines but also gained insights on how the subnational levels of DepEd manages and steers the WinS program. The event ended with countries and DepEd regions coming up with their actions plans. The outcomes of the conference has also been summarized in a document entitled as Manila Action Agenda.