Most schools in Penama lack hygiene supplies, facilities and practices

Only 31 per cent of kindergartens in Penama have what would be considered ‘basic’ water services… the program aims to correct that.

HYGIENE supplies, facilities and practices are lacking in most schools in Penama, indicates UNICEF’s Joint Monitoring Program for Water Supply report.

Therefore via New Zealand’s recently initiated multi-year WASH in Schools activity (WinS), implemented by UNICEF NZ and DoWR, it will deliver improved water and sanitation to every primary and secondary school in Penama Province.

UNICEF’s Communications Officer in Vanuatu, Rebecca Olul, said beginning in July this year, the WASH in Schools objectives complements and supports the Ministry of Education and Training’s (MoET) mandate to improve WASH in all schools throughout Penama.

“There are many global reports that we can refer to that tell us some of this including the UN-Water Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water (GLAAS) report and the latest WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Program for Water Supply report for nation-wide indicators on water sanitation and hygiene,’’ she said.

She said initial assessments indicated that school sanitation facilities are at a standard far below the minimum requirements. Hygiene supplies, facilities and practices are lacking in most schools in Penama.

She said data from the school’s baseline study carried out during the third quarter of this year is still being assessed.

Ms Olul said that the Ministry of Education and Training had identified Penama as one of the remote provinces in Vanuatu, requiring an increased prioritization of WASH in schools. It has the poorest WinS facilities and practices of all the country’s six provinces.

She said that kindergarten baseline suggests that only 31 per cent of kindergartens have what would be considered ‘basic’ water services (drinking water from an improved, protected water source).

“Through this project we hope to promote and facilitate scalability throughout Vanuatu,” she said.

Ms Olul said the WASH in Schools is an important component of MoET’s strategic plan and is a part of the Ministry’s short and long term priorities.

She said the activity is ongoing in all schools in Penama Province. That included 119 Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Centres or kindergartens, 64 primary schools and 15 secondary schools. This makes a total of 198 schools.

She said that access to Quality Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) project is also under way (funded by Dubai Cares), which will include WASH infrastructure and upgrades to ECCE centres in Penama in 2018 – this will be complementary to the WASH in Schools program.

Ms Olul said the program is just getting started.  Kick-off meetings with school principals and teachers resulted in the program being positively received by all.  Some schools and ECCEs are already showing impressive improvements.  All principals and teachers participated in a workshop in Penama Province that included a WASH in Schools module in September 2017.

The WinS is a five-year program that runs through to mid-2022.

The WASH in Schools (WinS) Program has the following four outputs:

  1. Implementation of a National Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in Schools (WinS) programme supported.
  2. Training package for WinS to enhance capacity of school management, communities and Government institutions provided.
  3. Tool(s) for gender and disability inclusive WASH interventions developed and implemented.
  4. WinS Three-Star Approach, including infrastructure, implemented in Penama province.

These will feed into the following short-term outcomes:

  • Schools and communities in Penama province have the knowledge and skills to implement and manage WinS facilities / upgrades.
  • Students in Penama province are using improved WASH facilities and appropriate practices.

These will then feed into the following medium-term outcomes:

  • WinS facilities and practices are reliably managed at school, provincial and national levels;
  • Improved attendance, especially among adolescent girls and children with a disability in Penama province schools.

And in turn are expected to feed into the following long-term outcomes:

  • WinS facilities and practices are functional and resourced in Vanuatu.
  • Improved education and health outcomes for school children throughout Vanuatu, with a focus on Penama.