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Evaluation database

Evaluation report

2014 Bhutan: Evaluation of WASH in Schools

Executive summary

With the aim to continuously improve transparency and use of evaluation, UNICEF Evaluation Office manages the "Global Evaluation Reports Oversight System". Within this system, an external independent company reviews and rates all evaluation reports. Please ensure that you check the quality of this evaluation report, whether it is “Outstanding, Best practice”, “Highly Satisfactory”, “Mostly Satisfactory” or “Unsatisfactory” before using it. You will find the link to the quality rating below, labelled as ‘Part 2’ of the report.


UNICEF provides support to WASH in schools programme with the objective to address basic needs of a child to learn and thrive in a safe learning environment, reduce school absenteeism and enhance learning achievement, reduce diarrhea, ARI, address needs specific to girls and improve nutritional status among others. The WASH programme in Bhutan was implemented in 200 schools under the United Nation Development Assisted Framework (UNDAF 2008–2012), where UNICEF Bhutan in collaboration with the Ministry of Health (MoH) and Ministry of Education (MoE) helped the construction of water supply and sanitation facilities in schools. About 400 school health coordinators from various schools were trained to promote the programme in their respective schools. In addition to WASH in schools, UNICEF also provided support to the Central Monastic Body through the Religion and Health Project, where 41 monastic schools and nunneries were provided sanitation facilities and 10 monastic schools water supply. 200 teachers from monastic schools and nunneries were trained and educated on hygiene. However, this evaluation focused only on formal schools supported by UNICEF.


Evaluation of WASH in schools is aimed at generating evidence on success, lessons learned and to provide reliable information to policy makers, programme managers and other relevant stakeholders to further strengthen WASH in schools. While access to water and sanitation facilities is an important basic need, it is equally important that improved water and sanitation facilities and effective hygiene promotion is ensured in the lives of school children. Therefore, the evaluation attempted to examine, both systematically and objectively, the relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, sustainability and impact of WASH in schools programmes.


The OECD’s five criteria of evaluation were used for this study and in addition coverage and coordination aspects of the programme were examined. A mix of qualitative and quantitative methods supplemented by information from secondary sources was used in the study. The programme’s equity aspects of gender, disability, areas of residence, level of schools etc. were also examined. Data collection tools comprised of questionnaires and focus group discussion (FGD) that were designed to gather primary information from teachers and students. Spot-check observation tool was also employed to record the status of WASH in Schools programme, particularly during the time of visit (September to October, 2013). Additional observation tools were also sent as email attachments to all remaining schools and data collected accordingly.

Findings and Conclusions:

Some of the main Findings are:

- 90.8 per cent of the respondents positively responded that the WASH in schools programme improved children’s health; 86 per cent reported that there was a significant reduction in water and sanitation related diseases since the programme was introduced in schools.

- WASH activities in schools have helped to institutionalize handwashing in schools with 69 per cent of schools having handwashing as a routine exercise. However, only 55 per cent of the students reported using soap and water for handwashing; 80.6 percent reported that WASH programme and its activities are better than other programmes implemented in the schools.

- Only 47.7 per cent of the respondents reported that service provider/stakeholders at the central and local government were involved in the design of WASH programme. However, a large number of school administration, including principals are not clear on the alignment of WASH programme with the Five-Year Plans.

- The study also found that there is no robust monitoring mechanism for WASH programme and 40 per cent of the teachers reported they are unaware of the government allocating budget for operation and maintenance of WASH programme and its activities.

- Although 70 per cent of the respondents reported the schools can afford to carry out minor maintenance of their toilets and water supply, the rest (30 per cent) still expressed the need for the Government to allocate regular budget for sustaining the WASH programme.


Recommendations are made at Policy/Central, district level and school levels.

Policy/Central level:

1) To advocate on handwashing with soap and water as only 55 per cent of the students use soap for handwashing
2) To train all school caretakers on WASH and its aspects like plumbing for minor maintenance, repair of leaking water taps etc.
3) Address overall dearth of female teachers and principals in schools, especially in rural areas to ensure that girls, especially adolescents, are not deprived of their gender sensitive needs such as menstruation hygiene.
4) To provide adequate urinals with appropriate designs considering age and gender sensitivities.

District and school level:

1) District Education Authorities to use the spot-check questionnaire as monitoring tool, and to keep adequate and separate budget for WASH.
2) Districts authorities to have quarterly or half-yearly reporting system on WASH activities to the Central office for monitoring.
3) In addition to advocacy and awareness programmes, districts to organize and create platform for schools to share their best practices on WASH with focus on behaviour change.
4) Schools to use the tools to spot-check WASH facilities and institute the WASH activities in schools by building into the school system as part of their curricular and co-curricular activities.
5)Schools to have quarterly reporting system on WASH activities to the district and through them to the Central program for better monitoring.

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