In 2013, UNICEF began a four-year water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) in schools (WinS) improvement program in Lao People’s Democractic Republic (Lao PDR). Through this program, UNICEF aims to deliver a comprehensive WinS intervention to 400 schools nationwide. In 2014, UNICEF began program activities in 100 schools in Saravane Province. Emory University is collaborating with UNICEF to research the impacts of the WinS programme on pupil educational and health outcomes. In September 2014, Emory launched the WASH Health and Educational Evaluation in Laotian Primary schools (WASH HELPS) study- a two-year longitudinal cluster randomized controlled trial among 100 schools (50 intervention, 50 comparison) in Saravane.
The primary outcomes are educational—school absence, attendance, attrition, progression, and performance—with results stratified to identify the influence of gender, geographical location, and socio-economic status. As these outcomes will be mediated primarily through improvements in health and well-being, WASH HELPS will also track and assess the impact of the program on key WASH-related health outcomes, including diarrheal diseases, respiratory illness, conjunctivitis, and soil-transmitted helminths. This study aims to add to the limited evidence examining the impact of school-based WASH improvements on educational, health and behavioral outcomes among school children.
See additional material:
Lao People's Democratic Republic
Primary schools and school children
Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and UNICEF