There is no shortage of literature on the theory of community participation in water supply and sanitation. But is enough attention being paid to implementation — the operational strategies needed to involve communities effectively?
This article continues from 'School sanitation and hygiene education in Mysore District' in Waterlines, Vol.19, no.2, where the promotion of school hygiene education was the main emphasis. This second article takes school sanitation and hygiene education or SSHE one step further by focusing on some of the main lessons in SSHE. It looks at what makes effective SSHE in schools and also considers the role of policy makers and future provision.
This article discusses key challenges that continue to marginalize the sanitation sector. It reflects on lessons from some experiences that may have implications for institutional development. It identifies gaps and suggests actions to address these. 'Sanitation', as used here, refers to technologies that are on-site or lower-cost (such as latrines and small-bore sewerage). As construction is only one small part of the sanitation spectrum, the article also refers to the motivation, the demand, cost and behavioural factors required for implementation, use and maintenance of sanitation facilities.
After a hygiene promotion programme ends, are hygiene practices continued in the household and community? A study has investigated this question and found that hygiene promotion is important and that the changes in behaviour do last.
For at least 50 years ‘hygiene education’ or more currently ‘hygiene promotion’ campaigns in schools, along with ‘school sanitation’ have been an unquestioned ‘essential element’ of water and sanitation promotion. This study describes a set of findings and conclusions that call into question the ‘obvious logic’ of school hygiene and sanitation promotion as currently practised. The overwhelming majority of ‘trained’ pupils do not in fact wash their hands with soap after using the toilet and before eating (even though the importance of such practices is well established and has almost certainly been emphasized in hygiene classes) and open defecation still appears to be relatively widespread even in intervention schools. This research therefore presents important findings for water, sanitation and hygiene in general and in the schools sector.