GIZ Regional Fit for School Programme Ready for Expansion

4 June 2014

Kompong Chhnang, Kompot, Kompong Thom, Phnom Penh and Takeo Provinces, Cambodia – Diseases related to lack of hygiene, such as diarrhea and respiratory infections, are still the leading cause of death for children living in Cambodia. By the time children enter school, more than half are diagnosed with intestinal worms and vast majorities have dental caries, virtually all untreated. Compared to healthy pupils, students suffering from pain and disease are frequently absent from school, sleep less, and demonstrate an overall lower academic performance: Health status and school performance are closely related.

GIZ’s Regional Fit for School Programme in Cambodia aims to prevent infectious diseases among public primary school students with the aim to improve school attendance through three simple and low-cost interventions: 1) daily hand washing with soap; 2) daily tooth brushing with fluoride toothpaste; and 3) bi-annual deworming.

8,000 students in Cambodia benefit from hygiene programme, 100,000 to follow

The programme has been supporting the School Health Department of the Ministry of Education Youth and Sport (MoEYS) of Cambodia implement its schemes since December 2011. Since programme inception in Cambodia, nearly 8,000 students have benefitted from improved hygiene in ten public primary schools in Phnom Penh and other four provinces: Kompot; Takeo; Kompong Thom; and Kompong Chhnang. This regional programme is also being implemented in three other countries: Lao PDR, Indonesia and the Philippines. The programme aims to further support the MoEYS to scale up the program in collaboration with other partners to benefit 103,000 more primary students in Cambodia by 2015.

Regional programme partners include SEAMEO INNOTECH, a regional center of the South-East Asian Ministers of Education Organization.

Partners collaborate to improve programme expansion support

After two years of programme implementation, the Regional Fit for School Programme in Cambodia is now supporting the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport prepare for programme expansion in collaboration with partner organisations active in water, sanitation and hygiene projects (WASH) in schools, namely UNICEF Cambodia, ESC-BORDA and World Vision Cambodia. The programme expansion is led by the School Health Department of the MoEYS, and is supported financially by partner organisations that include daily group hand washing in schools in their respective WASH programmes. GIZ provides technical assistance on integrating daily hygiene activities in these programmes and instruction on how to support schools to construct necessary group washing facilities.

The geographical areas covered by the expansion include: additional schools in the five existing Regional Fit for School provinces, plus schools in Siem Reap and Preah Vihear provinces. To prepare for the expansion, the Regional Fit for School Programme team has been working very closely with the School Health Department and partners, and has been preparing and finalising programme tools necessary for building the capacity of educational officers at sub-national level. This capacity development will prepare the officers for the implementation of daily hygiene practice at the schools. The tools, which can also be used by the schools and communities to reinforce their participation in the programme, include the Fit for School School-Community Manual and video, and a group washing facilities catalogue. All materials were developed jointly with the MoEYS.

Parallel to this expansion, the Regional Fit for School Programme is introducing a new group hand washing facility design, which includes low-cost and easy-to-install features, while saving water. The design is able to accommodate 22 children at a time, has been tested successfully, and installed in approximately 100 locations in the Philippines. Currently, a prototype of the facility is being produced in Cambodia and following a successful test run, the program will work with partners to introduce the design and installation in the expansion schools. For more information on the design facility visit the Facebook group on Hardware for Group Hand Washing in Schools:

With promising prospect, the Regional Fit for School Programme is committed to continuing collaboration with key stakeholders to ensure that the expansion is a success. Along the way, the programme will fulfill GIZ’s commitment to the health and well-being of Cambodian children and national development.

For more information on GIZ’s Regional Fit for School Programme, please contact:

Ayphalla Te Country Project Manager

Email: Mobile phone: +855 12 906 908

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