Particularly, School Sector Reform Plan (SSRP) (2009-2015) has aimed at a more focused intervention in the schools of Nepal. It intends to ensure that all schools are equipped with the priority minimum enabling conditions, which cater to the diverse needs of students. In particular, these conditions include the physical and learning environment. A school’s physical environment includes: the required school buildings, provision of adequate classrooms, separate toilets for girls and boys, drinking water facilities, and a playground. The SSRP is under revision and it is expected to articulate the WASH in Schools programme as a significant component of child-friendly framework which is the first priority of UNICEF to support the Government of Nepal in the Education sector. Data on WASH in Schools interventions are also very well strategized in the School Health and Nutrition Strategy jointly developed by the Ministry of education and Ministry of Health and Population. The very recently launched MDG Acceleration Framework on Sanitation (MAF) by the National Planning Commission has declared that ‘there shall be no schools without toilet’ by 2015.
Department of Education in close collaboration with UNICEF Nepal Country Office work hand in hand to make the Child Friendly Education Framework more effective in Nepal. The Framework was endorsed by the Ministry of Education and includes critical indicators related to better WASH facilities in schools, including Menstrual Hygiene Management approach. CGD friendly framework also underscores the need for “no schools without toilets” and highlights the importance of school WASH facilities, especially highlights access to girls toilets in schools.
By 2013 Department of Education constructed 11,500 girls’ toilets while UNICEF ensured capacity building of key education officers in the DoE in central and districts levels to support development of 1,102 schools as model in Child, Gender and Disabled Friendly school environments. In November 2013 UNICEF brought together representatives from the Department of Education and the Department of Health for a two day workshop to build understanding about the “Three Star and Fit for School Approach” and reach consensus on how it should be promoted and taken forward by DoE and key WASH in schools partners. The Three Star and Fit for School Approach follow up agenda was to reach essential sanitation MGD targets in Nepal by 2017.
In 2013-2014 Nepal government fiscal year there has been constructed 3,000 girls’ toilets and 2,000 general toilets in compliance with government annual quota under the Child Friendly Education Framework to ensure access to WASH facilities in all schools of Nepal.
As part of Child Friendly Framework, in 2014-2015 fiscal year a total of 550 schools are to be provided with safe health practices training in schools have been supported by UNICEF in 15 districts in Nepal. Department of Education and UNICEF have selected Bajhang district to create WASH in Schools model based on Child Gender and Disabled Friendly framework WASH facilities in schools. Three Star and Fit for Schools Approach indicators are set and adopted by Department of Education to do baseline assessments of 200 schools profiling by three star categorization in seven terai districts of Nepal.
Key National activities done to support WASH in Schools by Department of Education in 2014 with the support of UNICEF:
With regards to menstruation hygiene management (MHM), UNICEF Country Office together with government partners, Nepal Red Cross Society and Nepal Fertility Care Center is to be involved in MHM research in schools. The aim of the research is to assess schools where adolescent girls were exposed to MHM training as part of Child, Gender and Differently abled framework and evaluate the benefit of MHM trainings in schools. Also the research is to be given evidence based findings while reviewing CGD friendly framework in WASH in Schools Technical Working Group meetings in the future.
No government budget for schools to support software components like operation and maintenance of school facilities.
Widely practiced open defecation in communities and very low safe health practices among children in schools (hand washing with soap and drinking safe water)
Regular water supply in schools is a big challenge especially for mountainous and hill regions of Nepal.