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Assessing the Financial Sustainability of a Primary School Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Program in the Context of Kenya's Decentralized System of Financial Management

Gallo, Kerry L (2011)
Master's Thesis (100 pages)
Committee Chair / Thesis Adviser: McFarland, Deborah A
Committee Members: Dreibelbis, Robert
Research Fields: Health Sciences, Public Health; Health Sciences, Hygiene
Partnering Agencies: Emory University schools, faculty or affiliated programs ; International Non-governmental organization (e.g., CARE, Inc.) ; University, college or educational institution (other than Emory)
Keywords: wash; costing; water, sanitation, hygiene; kenya; nyanza province; primary schools; recurrent costs; systems cost; wash cost; decentralization; financial management; swash+; financial sustainability; child health
Program: Rollins School of Public Health, Hubert Department of Global Health
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Background: The sustainability of school health programs such as SWASH+ (Sustaining and Scaling School Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Plus Community Impact) relies in part on the availability and utilization of funds available to support recurrent costs for systems upkeep at the school level. Kenya's schools operate under a decentralized system where primary school administrators hold responsibility for financial management. Financial management capacity at the school level may further impact the sustainability of school WASH programs.

Objective: This study examines the recurrent costs of maintaining WASH systems in Nyanza Province to determine if funding gaps exist for recurrent costs of school WASH systems. We evaluate Kenya's decentralized system of school financial management by describing practices at the school level.

Methods: Twenty schools in Nyanza Province that received WASH systems improvements through the SWASH+ program were sampled. Head teachers were interviewed on school year WASH systems spending, budgeting, and funding. Budget records were examined at sample schools to evaluate accounting and financial management practices. Local shops and kiosks were visited to determine the average price of commonly utilized WASH systems supplies.

Results: All schools reported shortages of needed supplies and service contracting for maintaining WASH systems. Head teachers utilized funds allocated for other school operational needs to cover recurrent costs of WASH systems. Spending per pupil on WASH systems did not appear to follow a pattern, but on average schools spent the most to maintain water collection systems. Head teachers appeared to operate with autonomy in financial management matters, but capacity for successfully carrying out this role was unclear. Budgeting and record-keeping practices at the school level varied, and records were often of poor quality with errors in calculation.

Conclusion: A dedicated source of funding provided to all primary schools for recurrent expenses of school WASH systems is needed. However, this study could not definitively conclude if funding gaps exist. Further examination of school expenditures beyond WASH systems must be undertaken. Head teachers and other school administrators need to receive effective training in financial management, and accountability and transparency at the school level should be encouraged.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction...1

Introduction and Rationale...1
Problem Statement...1
Purpose Statement...4
Research Questions...4

Chapter 2: Comprehensive Review of the Literature...9


Decentralization in Developing Countries...9
Free Primary Education in Kenya...11
Funding of Kenya's FPE System...12
Table 1: Breakdown of Capitation Grant under Free Primary Education...14
Funding Challenges for FPE...16
Head Teacher Managerial Support under the FPE System...17
Primary School Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Programs under the FPE System...20
Figure 1. Flowchart of Kenyan Primary School Funding and Expenditure...25
Financial Sustainability of School WASH...25

Chapter 3: Methods and Results...28

Research Design...28
Population and Sample...29
Figure 2: Map of 20 Sample Schools in Kenya's Nyanza Province...30
Plans for Data Analysis...35
Definition of Terms...37
Results of Study...40
Determining School WASH Yearly Expenditures...40
Table 2. Total expenditure (Ksh) in the most recent school year for WASH systems...40
Funding Sources...41
Supply Needs Analysis...41
Table 3. Estimates of annual funding needed to purchase school WASH supplies by system based on reported need and average prices...42
Reported Supply and Service Shortages...42
Supply and Service Needs Named by Head Teachers...42
Observed Characteristics of Financial Planning in Schools...43
Characteristics of School Financial Documents...44
Non-Monetary Expenses of Maintaining a School WASH Program...44
Table 4. Characterizing travel and transportation responsibilities of school personnel for the purchase and transport of school WASH supplies and services...45

Chapter 4: Discussion, Conclusions, and Recommendations...48

Discussion of Findings...48
Limitations of Assessment...54
Implications and Recommendations...56

Appendix 1: Head Teacher Survey...65
Appendix 2: Shop Survey...90
Appendix 3: IRB Approvals...92


application/pdf Dissertation/Thesis 100 pages (984.6 KB) [Access copy of Dissertation/Thesis]
Supplemental Files
application/msword APPENDIX 1 (339.5 KB) [Appendix 1, supplemental file for Master's Thesis]
application/msword APPENDIX 2 (68.5 KB) [Appendix 2, supplemental file for Master's Thesis]
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