Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO) and the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany signed an agreement and exchange of notes on 17 February 2016 to jointly promote and implement the “Fit for School” regional programme.

The ceremony which took place at the Residence of the German Ambassador on South Sathorn Road, Bangkok, Thailand was attended by Dr Gatot Hari Priowirjanto, Director, SEAMEO Secretariat; Mrs Nicole Siegmund, Principal Advisor, Regional Fit for School Programme, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ); and HE Mr Peter Prügel, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Thailand. Also present were officials from SEAMEO, GIZ and Germany.

The project aims to support Ministries of Education in four SEAMEO Member Countries, namely Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR and the Philippines in large scale improvement efforts on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) to promote health and education of children in primary schools. Technical assistance will be provided to effectively turn schools into better health and learning enabling environments. Included within the scope of the project is the institutionalisation of hygiene routines like hand-washing and tooth-brushing into daily school timetables. Regular school-based deworming will also be carried out.

On the financial side, the German Government will set aside an additional 6 million Euros (USD6.6 million) to fund this project, therefore raising it to a total of 11.9 million Euros (USD13.1 million). Working closely in the implementation of this project are SEAMEO Regional Centre for Education Innovation and Technology (SEAMEO INNOTECH) and the GIZ.

The continuous support from the Federal Republic of Germany has been invaluable to various projects implemented by SEAMEO. Germany has been an Associate Member of SEAMEO since 1990, and has been supporting SEAMEO through its agencies German Exchange Service (DAAD) and the GIZ.