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More often than not, IIRR’s projects can expand and encompass many different themes. Our WASH project is a good example of this. Tinabunan Elementary School in Imus, Cavite, in the Philippines, participated in IIRR’s Integrated School Nutrition Program (ISNP). This expansive program was initially designed to help improve nutrition among malnourished school children.

Addressing nutritional deficits was not the only achievement of this program. Before 2016, the elementary school only had two staff, a teacher and a cook. So, children only learned the basics of hygiene, such as simple handwashing.

However, after participating in the ISNP, Tinabunan was successful in growing various vegetables and was able to nutritionally sustain all 50 school children. Because of the success of Tinabunan’s school garden, it was chosen as the winner of the Best School Gardening Program Implementer in Region 4A. The winnings amounted to PHP 65,000 (US$1,300).

With the award money, Tinabunan built additional lavatories on the school grounds that were used for handwashing and tooth brushing. Therefore, more emphasis could be placed on basic hygiene.

IIRR understands that many of the challenges rural people face are interconnected. Therefore, many of our programs aim to tackle the interconnectivity of these problems. This is shown through how our ISNP project could expand beyond just nutrition into good hygiene practices.