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The School Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene plus Community Impact (SWASH+) project was an action‐research and advocacy project focusing on increasing the scale, impact, and sustainability of school water, sanitation, and hygiene (SWASH) programming in Kenya.


The goal of SWASH+ was not just to measure the impact of school WASH programs, but to understand the barriers for schools to maintain these programs in the long term. It also sought to increase the financial and human resources schools invested in WASH.


SWASH+ can categorize its work into three main areas: studies, advocacy, and tools.

1) Studies

CARE worked with Emory University and Great Lakes University of Kisumu to research what worked most effectively for school WASH programs that could last for the long term. Research partners worked with the Government of Kenya from the beginning to ensure that the government would use the evidence and research to make policy decisions. That included doing research on questions the government identified as key priorities. For example, Georgetown University looked at feasible options to improve monitoring and governance strategies for school WASH in areas of central and coastal Kenya, and Emory University and CARE conducted a study on the costs of implementing and maintaining school WASH infrastructure.

Subsequent phases of SWASH+ studies focused on challenges in urban schools and the feasibility and costs of utilizing a private sector service to improve sanitation in schools with limited space. Sanergy worked with Emory University on this multi-year study. Additionally, CARE and Emory conducted a study on the costs of school WASH in urban schools, combining data on costs for rural schools.

2) Advocacy

The project prioritized influencing the Government of Kenya to change its policies around school WASH, and helping the national government answer key questions. CARE advocacy staff met regularly with key personnel from the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health to discuss the implications of findings and to influence the direction of policies, campaigns, and budgets. SWASH+ and others were able to convince the Ministry of Education to increase (more than once!) its budget allocation for school WASH. Additionally, a focus on girls’ attendance and participation in school, and the need for provision of sanitary pads, became a large focus of the Government of Kenya due to the advocacy work of the SWASH+ program.

3) Tools

The SWASH+ team worked to make sure that schools, local governments, and national policy makers had the evidence and tools they needed to budget and plan for sustainable WASH infrastructure and services.

Program achievements

SWASH+ proved that investing in WASH meant healthier students who had higher school attendance. It also convinced the government of Kenya to invest more money in WASH for local schools, and gave schools the tools they needed to budget and plan for WASH over the long term.

The importance of SWASH+

CARE and research partner Emory University worked with the Government of Kenya to co-develop research topics and methods, and to interpret the results together. Each year, SWASH+ staff met with the Government of Kenya to pose strategic questions and consider implications for how to use the data to improve the work. SWASH+ maintained advocacy staff in order to ensure the work was aligned with government priorities, and used data from SWASH+ studies to influence government decisions and investments in school WASH.


SWASH+ Project Summary

Celebrating 13 years of working with national government for lasting water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) in schools in Kenya.

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SWASH+ Private Sector Guidelines Summary

Practice guidelines in private sector sanitation for schools in Kenya.

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SWASH+ Research: Private Sector Sanitation Delivery

Exploring key drivers and barriers to private sector sanitation delivery in urban primary schools.

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SWASH+ Research: WASH in School

The piloting of a WASH in school (WinS) budgeting tool with feedback from trained end-users.

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SWASH+ WinS Tool Summary

SWASH+ partners, in collaboration with the Kenya Ministry of Education, have developed a simple Excel-based tool designed to increase the application of WASH budgeting practices and increase access to LCC cost data.

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