Necessary conditions for sustainable water and sanitation service delivery in schools: A systematic review.
2022; 17 (7): e0270847
Access to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services confers significant health and economic benefits, especially for children, but only if those services can be delivered on a consistent basis. The challenge of sustainable, school-based WASH service delivery has been widely documented, particularly in resource-constrained contexts. We conducted a systematic review of published research that identifies drivers of, or tests solutions to, this challenge within low- and middle-income countries (PROSPERO 2020 CRD42020199163). Authors in the first group employ cross-sectional research designs and interrogate previously implemented school WASH interventions. Most conclude that dysfunctional accountability and information sharing mechanisms drive school WASH service delivery failures. By contrast, most of the interventions developed and tested experimentally by authors in the second group focus on increasing the financial and material resources available to schools for WASH service delivery. Overall, these authors find negligible impact of such infusions of cash, infrastructure, and supplies across a variety of sustainability outcome metrics. Taken together, the evidence suggests that sustainable service delivery depends on three simultaneously necessary components: resources, information, and accountability. Drawing upon theory and evidence from social psychology, public management, and political science, we identify priority knowledge gaps that can meaningfully improve the design of effective interventions. We also highlight the importance of both interdisciplinary collaboration and local expertise in designing WASH programming that aligns with sociocultural and institutional norms, and is thus more likely to generate sustainable impact.
View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0270847
View details for PubMedID 35857721