PASIG CITY, December 27, 2022 – As one of the implementing countries of the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) in Schools (WinS) policy in Southeast Asia, the Philippines’ Department of Education (DepEd) has been recognized for its implementation of the said program.

The Regional Fit for School Programme, implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in partnership with the Southeast Asia Ministers of Education Organization-Regional Centre for Educational Innovation and Technology (SEAMEO INNOTECH), supports ministries of education in selected Asian countries to sustainably implement improvements in WASH to improve the health and learning conditions of students in schools at large.

“The DepEd WinS Program is designed to achieve learning and health outcomes of Filipino students through a comprehensive, sustainable, and scalable school-based WASH program pursuant to the State’s mandate to defend the right of children to dignity, assistance, and protection from conditions that would hamper their development,” said Dir. Lope Santos III of the Bureau of Learner Support Services (BLSS).

The WinS initiative is the flagship program of Oplan Kalusugan sa DepEd (OK sa DepEd) by virtue of DepEd Order No. 10, s. 2016 or the Policy and Guidelines for the Comprehensive WinS Program. It is a holistic approach to personal health care and environmental sanitation aimed to address gaps in the areas of hygiene and sanitation and keep more children healthy and in school.

Delegates from the Department shared advancements, innovations, and best practices in the implementation of the WinS program, particularly the Three-Star Approach (TSA) which serves as the monitoring and evaluation system of the program.

DepEd also bared its high compliance rate, with 96.7 percent of schools in the country having basic handwashing facilities.

“As a nation, and as part of a global community, we continue to advocate WASH in Schools, now more than ever.  And as we often say in our ministry: As one DepEd family, we are ‘For the WinS!’ And we are happy and grateful the GIZ Fit for School Program has always been a part of our WinS Journey,” added Dir. Santos.

Dir. Santos, Dr. Maria Corazon C. Dumlao, Chief of BLSS-School Health Division (SHD), and Vonerich B. Berba, Education Program Specialist II and National WinS Coordinator accepted the award on behalf of the agency.

Bearing the theme “Innovating WASH in Schools Towards 2030,” the Regional Fit for School Conference held in Bangkok, Thailand last November 22-24, 2022 was attended by country representatives from Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Germany, South Africa, Malawi, South Sudan, Zambia, and other partners such as the SEAMEO INNOTECH, SEAMEO Regional Center for Food and Nutrition (RECFON), SEAMEO Regional Center for Tropical Biology (BIOTROP), and Hygiene & Behaviour Change Coalition (HBCC).

Aside from the WinS Program, other programs under OK sa DepEd are the School-Based Feeding Program, the National Drug Education Program, Adolescent Reproductive Health, School Mental Health, and Medical, Dental, and Nursing Services.