News.Jan 26, 2023

Risked-informed WASH-BAT methodology adapted for schools in Chiapas, Mexico

In August 2022, SIWI supported UNICEF Mexico Country Office in the implementation of a risk-informed WASH Bottleneck Analysis Tool (WASH-BAT) for schools in the State of Chiapas, Mexico. The tool was adapted for the workshop with an emphasis on climate risks and vulnerabilities, indigenous communities, menstrual hygiene, and handwashing in schools.

Leer este artículo en español

87 participants took part in the four-day workshop. They included representatives of the Secretary of Education and several State Delegations, the Secretary of Health, members of the local Chiapas government, representatives from primary schools (directors and teachers) and NGOs, among others.

Participants were distributed across seven working groups, with staff from SIWI and the NGO Cántaro Azul (partner in Mexico) facilitating them. The working groups discussed 145 criteria across 12 functions: policy and strategy; financing; service delivery models; budget; accountability and regulation; monitoring, evaluation, and learning; capacity development; planning; coordination; leadership; decentralization; and social norms.

To integrate a climate lens into the WASHBAT, the same two-step methodology was implemented as was applied during the climate-risk informed WASHBAT workshop a few weeks earlier in Nicaragua. As then, the first step was to develop a climate risk analysis from May to July 2022 in collaboration with a ‘workshop taskforce group’ made up of key members of Mexico’s most relevant water and sanitation organizations, and the NGO Cántaro Azul, who also finalized the report and supported the workshop’s discussions. Floods, droughts, heat waves, wildfires, earthquakes, and landslides were identified as the most pressing climate and environmental-related hazards, which could affect the provision of WASH services in schools in Chiapas.

The second step of the methodology was the validation of the outcomes from the climate risk analysis with all the participants. The risk analysis validation concluded that the greatest risks were associated with the environmental, physical, and financial impact of floods (in first place) on critical water, sanitation, and hygiene infrastructure, and water sources (surface and groundwater). Risks were also associated with the human and social impact of flooding on users (including the indigenous population and vulnerable children). In second place, the environmental and financial impact on water sources (surface and groundwater) and on critical water, sanitation, and hygiene infrastructure of floods also stood out. The risks associated with heat waves, wildfires, earthquakes, and landslides were not prioritized (top 25) in the results of this analysis.

Chiapas workshop attendees and post-it note workings

As a result of the workshop, an Action Plan was developed with 21 prioritized activities. These activities were then integrated into the Tuxtla Declaration, which was signed with the acknowledgement of all participants. The Declaration seeks to be a relevant policy instrument to engage other stakeholders in the development of a shared action plan for the delivery of more climate-resilient and inclusive WASH services at the household and institutional level. Some of the activities included:  to incorporate  institutional program strategies and lines of action that address WASH in schools; create an inter-institutional working group to share information on WASH in schools and designate responsibilities; develop training for technical committees and teachers to address the issues of WASH, menstrual hygiene and climate change; and to develop actions to strengthen and encourage the creation of a budget line item on WASH issues for schools.

Following the WASHBAT, SIWI and UNICEF organized a further workshop with the municipality of Berriozábal, in Chiapas, to analyze how to best implement the Action Plan within this specific municipality. A total of 39 people participated in this second workshop. They worked in three groups to validate the Action Plan, and to define which activities should be prioritized in Berriozábal and be included within the region’s Municipal Action Plan for WASH in schools. The main activities agreed by the participants included: the designation of technical liaisons in the municipality of Berriozábal to address WASH issues; the prioritization of funding in schools according to a needs assessment; and the definition of an inter-institutional training plan to strengthen capacities on WASH in schools, among several others.

To sum up, despite the WASHBAT methodology being new to most of the participants, the working groups showed commitment throughout the week and actively participated during the different activities. In addition, the discussion at the municipal level was particularly useful, as ideas on how to best implement the general action plan were considered (in this case, at state level) with the actual key actors that would implement the activities at local level. Finally, looking for partners such as Cántaro Azul in the main countries where SIWI works, has shown to be a key strategy to strengthen collaboration with local institutions.

Leer este artículo en español

United Nation Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
Secretaría de Educación de Chiapas