Galvanizing Schools to Take Action in Benin

benin school kids

Over the past few months, WASHplus through implementing partner ABMS/PSI has stepped up advocacy for latrine improvement in several public schools in Benin.  One school, with a student population of 1,500, has four latrine blocks that are unusable because they are full.  Even though WASHplus/ABMS and school officials successfully lobbied the Ministry of Education for a USD $200 line item for pit emptying, the urgency of the situation prompted the PTA to front the money and hire a pit empying service soon thereafter. The head of the PTA explained that joint meetings called by WASHplus/ABMS field staff to bring the group of teachers, the school director, and PTA members to the actual site of the latrine blocks and expose them to the extreme contamination “Woke us up.” WASHplus is supporting development of a sustainable usage and maintenance plan along with installation of handwashing facilities and possible additional latrine construction. Read the full story here.

 

 

 

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Celebrate Global Handwashing Day: Raise a Hand for Hygiene!

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October 15 marks the annual celebration of Global Handwashing Day. Over 200 million people will be promoting one simple behavior that can save lives all over the world—handwashing with soap. Every year, 1.7 million children are killed by diarrhea and pneumonia—two diseases that can be significantly prevented through good hygiene practices. Even with the knowledge that handwashing with soap can improve health and save lives, it isn’t practiced nearly enough, and resources geared toward its promotion, necessary supplies, or facilities are inadequate.

The WASHplus project, funded by USAID, is working diligently to address the lack of infrastructure that prevents access to handwashing with soap, and promoting simple messaging around washing hands with soap at critical times. This can reduce the incidence of diarrhea among children under 5 by 47 percent and respiratory infections by approximately 25 percent.

Hygiene is also critical to educational achievement, ensuring that students don’t miss school due to illness; economics, through increased worker attendance and productivity; and equity, which girls gain when they are able to safely manage menstruation at school. Given the broad impact of hygiene, it is essential that handwashing facilities and behavior change programs be prioritized.

Join us in raising a hand for hygiene on Global Handwashing Day and every day! Enjoy the joyful images of handwashing activities from our project activities, where we work to increase awareness and understanding about the importance of handwashing with soap as an effective and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives.

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These school children in Zambia’s Eastern Province know the importance of having clean hands and can now practice good hygiene behavior thanks to the SPLASH (Schools Promoting Learning Achievement through Sanitation and Hygiene) project’s installation of handwashing stations at their school.
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Plastic water bottles are easy to find and turn into simple tippy taps for handwashing. Strung together on a pole, they make a group handwashing station at a school in Madagascar.
Through SPLASH, WASH-Friendly Schools in Zambia teach students about the importance of hand washing and provide hand washing stations nearby latrines.
Thanks to WASHplus’s SPLASH project in Zambia, students at Kakumbi Primary take their lessons on handwashing seriously and pass these improved behaviors along to their households and communities.
Mother and child in Bangladesh wash hands before mealtime
In Bangladesh, WASHplus works to integrate important WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) behaviors into nutrition activities. Washing hands before cooking, eating, or feeding a baby is emphasized to mother’s groups.
Schoolboy washing his hands
This school boy is lucky to attend a WASH-Friendly school that ensures its students have enough latrines for boys and girls with available handwashing stations, a clean schoolyard, and lessons that incorporate important sanitation and hygiene messages.
Children at EPP Ambanitsena washing their hands with soap and water before going home for lunch.
Children in Madagascar wash their hands with soap and water before going home for lunch.
Woman washing hands at a tippy tap in Benin
WASHplus trains community health workers in Benin to make household tippy taps for handwashing using readily available materials. These workers pass on the knowledge through household visits and community events.
A little girl learns to wash her hands before eating
As part of its nutrition screening and referral activity in Mali, WASHplus shows how to wash hands properly with soap before children eat at nutrition centers and before meals are prepared during community cooking demonstrations.
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New water points and soap encourage handwashing at schools in Zambia and also have a profound impact on surrounding communities that are encouraged to use them after attending sensitization training on how to protect the infrastructure and contribute to its maintenance.

Improving the quality of drinking water in schools: students take the initiative

By Armand AGUIDI AMOUSSOU, WASHplus Benin Coordinator, July 2015

Benin_WASH friendly schoolThe Benin peri-urban program has taken a new turn by including schools in its efforts to fosteri mproved hygiene practices. Lack of latrines, drinking water and hygiene is acutely felt by the schools. The 10 schools in the pilot neighborhoods of Enagnon and Agbato showed great enthusiasm and engagement after intensive sessions with ABMS school activities coordinator Victoire Mongbo. Together, they agreed on criteria and terms for becoming a WASH Friendly School, and are now engaged in a WASH Friendly competition. Handwashing with soap and nicely maintained school yards are becoming the norm, however, the need for classroom drinking water containers stirred up controversy as the schools have no money and teachers in the public schools are not allowed to ask parents for financial contributions. Instead, the teachers gave lessons in the importance of safe storage and treatment of drinking water. To her surprise, one enterprising 10 year old, Claudine, proclaimed that the students should contribute to the purchase of containers for their classrooms. The students organized a committee and decided on a level of 25FCFA (pennies) each. Fourteen students promptly contributed. They eventually raised 1, 025F, by using snack money and also asking parents who were more than willing to help. This experience has reinforced the idea that children can be powerful motivators of parents when they themselves are convinced of the right action. WASHplus is also working with the school directors to come up with alternative solutions to school WASH challenges.

African EduWeek 2014: Expert Interview with Justin Lupele

lupele_justin_2013_200x220 An interview with Dr. Justin Lupele, Chief of Party, WASH Project in Zambia.  He is part of an  expert panel at the upcoming 2014 African EduWeek on “Educating in today’s social and  economic climate: Best approaches for educational challenges.”  This interview first appeared on the African EduWeek 2014 website here.

1)    Please can you give us some background on your organisation and your role? SPLASH is a five-year USAID-funded project that aims to reach 246,000 primary school pupils in four districts of Eastern Province, Zambia (Mambwe, Chipata, Lundazi, and Chadiza). SPLASH is implemented by WASHplus, which is managed by FHI 360 as a prime and CARE as a sub-grantee. The project works within the Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training, and Early Education (MESVTEE) and other line ministries such as Ministry of Local Government and Housing (MLGH) and Ministry of Health (MOH). SPLASH’s overall objective is to sustainably improve access to safe water, adequate sanitation, hygiene information and health practices to improve learning environments and educational performance in basic schools.  The overall objective will be achieved by means of the following five key task areas:

  1. Install and rehabilitate improved WASH infrastructure in schools using a service-delivery framework
  2. Improve hygiene behaviors and health of learners and teachers and subsequently their communities
  3. Strengthen local governance and coordination of WASH in Schools through the involvement of multiple stakeholders
  4. Engage those who set policies at the national, provincial, and district levels to support WASH in Schools
  5. Strengthen the capacity of small-scale service providers and the private sector to deliver WASH goods and services on a sustainable basis.

I am the Chief of Party/Project Director.

2)    What education focused projects are you involved in that you are particularly excited about? The project is involved in hygiene education. I am particularly interested in menstrual hygiene management education. Through this programme we are enabling hundreds of girl children that have reached puberty to attend class as we encourage the provision of sanitary towels and washrooms for girls to manage their menses and continue to attend classes.

3)    What in your view are the main challenges in education in Africa? The main challenge of education in Africa is the low investment by most countries. The national budgets on education are very low – in most cases less than 20% of the total budget. Deployment of qualified teachers, often trained at the country’s expense is another challenge. In the efforts of reducing wage bills, trained teachers are not being employed. This results in having schools that are managed by untrained teachers. HIV/AIDS has also contributed to the attrition of teachers.

4)    What surprises you about your work? I am surprised at my work that ministries of education in Africa and other discussions around quality of education do not tackle water and sanitation as one of the factors that contribute to education quality.

5)    You are part of an expert panel on socio-economic issues in the education at African EduWeek.  What will be your message at EduWeek this year? My message will be to urge participants and governments in Africa to look at education quality holistically and to invest in water, sanitation and hygiene education. 6)    What are you most looking forward to at African EduWeek? I am looking forward to learning from others, insights on how to improve learner attendance, especially girl children in rural Africa, and ways of lobbying governments to increase funding to education.

Let Kids Learn

Bringing WASH to classrooms, turning a cycle of poor health, interrupted learning and gender inequity into a cycle of opportunity.

Poor water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) lead to poor health. Poor health keeps kids out of school, and when kids miss class, they can’t learn. FHI 360 and CARE, in partnership with USAID and the Ministry of Education in Zambia, are bringing WASH to classrooms, turning a cycle of poor health, interrupted learning and gender inequity into a cycle of opportunity.

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BUILDING BLOCKS FOR LEARNING

Clean water, adequate sanitation and proper hygiene require appropriate facilities and an awareness of good practices. SPLASH is a five-year project started in 2011 funded by USAID Zambia to reach more than 240,300 primary school pupils in three districts of the Eastern Province (Chipata, Lundazi, Mambwe and Chadiza). SPLASH aims to improve pupils’ health, learning and performance by increasing their access to safe water and adequate sanitation and improving their hygiene and health practices at school and at home

Through the SPLASH partnership under WASHplus, CARE International supports the construction of boreholes and sanitation facilities, while FHI 360 supports teacher training and curriculum development. Local ministries, nongovernmental organizations and communities take it from there.

CONSTRUCTING FACILITIES

Theresa J.V. Ngoma, District Education Board Secretary, Mambwe

INVOLVING COMMUNITIES

Patricia Mitti Mazonga, Head Teacher, Mambwe

DEVELOPING CURRICULA

Margaret Phiri Mapata, District Resource Center Coordinator, Chipata

PLAYFUL PARTICIPATION FOR LIFELONG HABITS

A solid infrastructure provides a foundation for lifelong healthy habits to take root. Schools form WASH clubs for students and WASH committees for parents and community members.

Manda Esaya E., Teacher, School WASH Coordinator, Lundazi

BEING A MEMBER OF WASH CLUB

WASH clubs and committees engage students and community members through skits, songs, dances, poems and prayer.

Jennifer Jere, WASH Club member, Mambwe

MANAGING MENSTRUAL HYGIENE – EQUITABLE EXPERIENCES FOR GIRLS

Good menstrual hygiene management is critical to keeping girls in school all month long. Equipped with new washrooms for girls, the schools have also taken steps to prevent teasing and ensure a comfortable environment for menstruating students.

Solomon Mwanza, Head Teacher, Lundazi

FROM THE CLASSROOM TO THE COMMUNITY

Small doable actions are simple steps that people can take to improve WASH.

Learn more.