Despite the known health benefits of washing hands with soap, global handwashing rates are low. In Nyanza Province, Kenya, a follow-up of 55 pilot primary schools three years after the implementation of a safe water and hygiene intervention revealed that only 2 per cent (one school) provided soap for handwashing on the day of the assessment. After identifying barriers to soap provision, SWASH+ partners piloted a handwashing intervention using powdered soap mixed with water to create soapy water in place of bar soap in 11 schools. The first six months of unannounced visits showed high uptake (10 schools). A one-year follow-up visit revealed a decrease of soapy water use (four schools). This paper discusses the soapy water intervention, initial and follow-up monitoring findings, potential sustainability drivers of handwashing programmes in rural primary schools and next steps.
In Nyanza Province, Kenya, a sustainability evaluation of 55 pilot primary schools 2.5 years after the implementation of the Safe Water System (SWS) intervention revealed that programme activities were not successfully sustained in any of the schools visited. The most common criterion met was drinking water provision. We identified six enabling environment domains: financial capacity; accountability; technical feasibility and availability; community support; school leadership and management; and student engagement. While these domains pertain to the sustaining of the SWS activities in schools, they are likely to be applicable in creating an enabling environment and serve as proxy indicators for other school water, sanitation, and hygiene initiatives as well.