208239 Sustaining School-Based Point-of-Use Water Treatment in Western Kenya

Monday, November 9, 2009: 3:24 PM

Shadi Saboori, BA , Hubert Department of Global Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Rick Rheingans, PhD , Hubert Department of Global Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Matthew Freeman, MPH , Hubert Department of Global Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Meshack Odhiambo, BA , Community Health, Great Lakes University of Kisumu, Kisumu, Kenya
Stephen Kimo, BA , Community Health, Great Lakes University of Kisumu, Kisumu, Kenya
Alex Mwaki , CARE Kenya, Kisumu, Kenya
Ben Okech, MPH , CARE Kenya, Kisumu, Kenya
Leslie Greene, MPH , Hubert Global Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
The challenge of providing sufficient quantities of safe water is staggering. While substantial effort has been providing support to households, schools and institutions represent a particular challenge. Providing safe water in schools with point-of-use (POU) water treatment technology provides the opportunity to reach hundreds of children and, by extension, their parents. A promising approach in institutional settings is the Safe Water System (SWS), a low-cost approach developed by the CDC which uses point-of-use water treatment technology (usually sodium hypochlorite), safe storage containers, and behavior change education. Like other POU approaches, there are important challenges with regards to sustainability.

In 2005, CARE Kenya implemented the SWS in 60 schools in rural Nyanza Province. An evaluation of the intervention was conducted in 2006 to estimate benefits and determine if program activities were ongoing at the school (O'Reilly et al, 2007). The evaluation showed a significant reduction in absenteeism since the implementation of the SWS and identified several potential threats to sustainability.

The ongoing five-year Sustaining & Scaling School Water, Sanitation, & Hygiene Plus Community Impact (SWASH+) project incorporated the CARE SWS intervention as one approach to addressing challenges of school WASH. In order to glean lessons learned from the previous project, a sustainability assessment was conducted in April 2008. The objectives of this study were to identify barriers to sustainability and assist CARE in making informed improvements to their programming. The assessment consisted of surveys and key informant interviews; direct observations of the SWS hardware; and testing drinking water in schools that reported treating their water at 55 of the original 60 schools.

Of the 55 schools visited, 36% of schools provided drinking water the day of the evaluation. While 20% reported treating drinking water on the day of the visit, only 9% had measurable levels of chlorine in their drinking water. Key barriers to the sustainability of the SWS identified as a result of this evaluation include technology, cost, water access, and institutional support. Results of the findings were shared with partners and several potential strategies to address sustainability challenges are currently being tested in a sub-set of SWASH+ schools.

Learning Objectives:
Describe the challenges to sustaining point-of-use water treatment programs in school-based settings Identify potential strategies to improve upon point-of-use water treatment programs in schools

Keywords: Water, School-Based Programs

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an integral part of the research group that produced this work and have been involved in the sustainability study and its continued implications for our Kenya SWASH+ research project. I am very familiar with the work and therefore qualified to present.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.