Planning for improvements

To make improvements to the sanitation and waste management situation in any of the institutions we have described requires careful planning. If you were involved in a scheme to make improvements to institutions, there are a number of planning activities that should be done in a stepwise manner. Some of the key activities are briefly described below.

Know the scope of your activity

This requires the identification of institutions by type and number in your working area.

Identify existing WASH-related problems

A survey to assess the conditions and gather data on any existing problems should be undertaken. This is similar to the assessments you learned about in Study Session 3. It will provide baseline data that is useful for analysing any problems and setting priorities based on the local situation. An example checklist for a school is shown in Table 12.1.

Table 12.1 School safety form.

No. Question Response
1.0 General information
1.1 Date of inspection
1.2 Name of the institution
1.3 Number of students by sex Male/female
1.4 Address
1.5 Ownership Private/public
1.6 Level of school 1st cycle/2nd cycle
2.0 School compound
2.1 Location of school, hazards such as noise, proximity to road
2.2 Compound sanitation: free from solid waste, flowing liquid waste Yes/no – indicate the subject
3.0 Classroom
3.1 Window Adequate/inadequate
3.2 Ventilation Adequate/inadequate
3.3 Lighting Adequate/inadequate
3.4 Condition of classroom and its floor
4.0 Water supply
4.1 Is water available in the school compound? Yes/no
4.2 Source Piped/well/spring/river/other
4.3 Supply of drinking water and handwashing facilities Yes/no
4.4 Number of water taps
4.5 Cleanliness around the water point Yes/no
5.0 Latrine provision
5.1 Is latrine available in the school compound? Yes/no
5.2 Type of latrine Pit latrine/VIP/
5.3 Floor of latrine (washable slab) Concrete slab/earth
5.4 Latrine available for: Students/teachers
5.5 Separate latrines for male and female students Yes/no
5.6 Latrine superstructure
5.7 Excreta seen around the latrine Yes/no
5.8 Excreta inside the latrine Yes/no
5.9 Can a student use the latrine in its current condition? Yes/no
5.10 Doors that lock from the inside, not the outside Yes/no
5.11 Number of latrine holes
5.12 Access to disabled children Yes/no
5.13 Access to menstrual hygiene management Yes/no
6.0 Solid waste management
6.1 Is there a refuse container in the compound? Yes/no
6.2 Is there a refuse container in each classroom? Yes/no
6.3 Is there a burial pit for refuse? Yes/no
6.4 Is there an incinerator? Yes/no
6.5 Is waste collected for disposal by a contractor? Yes/no
7.0 Students’ personal hygiene (observe a few students)
7.1 Clothing Intact/torn/clean/
7.2 Hair Clean/unclean
7.3 Face Clean/unclean
7.4 Nits Yes/no
7.5 Feet Clean/unclean
7.6 Fingernails Clean/unclean
7.7 Eyes Clean/unclean
7.8 Lice Yes/no
7.9 Teeth Clean/unclean
7.10 Scabies Yes/no
8.0 Handwashing facility
8.1 Basin
8.2 Source of running water for rinsing (tap, jug) Tap/jug
8.3 Soap or ash Yes/no
8.4 Soak pit to avoid standing water Yes/no
9.0 Summary of main findings
10.0 Suggestions

Identify partners that you can work with

It is useful to identify partners in order to work together and bring improvements from mutual efforts. Depending on the type of institution, partners are likely to be government offices such as the local administration, health office, education office, water utility, school administration, school parents’ committees, traditional leaders or police and court desks. It is also important to include authorities of religious and other local institutions/organisations.

Identify and prioritise activities

In collaboration with partners and in consultation with potential beneficiaries, proposed activities can be identified and then plans developed. There will need to be careful assessment of the resources required. Improving sanitation, waste management and hygiene so that they meet recommended requirements is challenging. For example, if a school has no latrine and the school head is advised to install latrines for students, they cannot do it immediately. They need time and a budget.

If the school has latrines but they are in poor condition (Figure 12.5) then improvements can be made more easily and require fewer resources. Other activities that may not require many resources include establishing WASH clubs, hygiene education for students, and periodically conducting personal hygiene inspections.

Figure 12.5 A dirty school latrine cubicle and wash basin with a tap that is obviously not used.

What improvements would you suggest for the school facilities shown in Figure 12.5?

Show answer

The priorities would be to:

  • introduce a daily cleaning schedule to keep cubicles and the surrounding area clean
  • fit doors to the cubicles for privacy
  • provide water in a by the basin jerrycan if piped water supply is not possible
  • provide soap.

Design the plan of action

This will depend on the number and type of institution. The plan should indicate the list of activities, the timescale for implementation, the frequency for regular events like inspections, and who is responsible. It should also include appropriate follow-up activities after improvements have been made.

Last modified: Sunday, 2 October 2016, 2:47 PM