Happy New Year!
In this report, we want to let you know what happened during the last months of 2013 in our project “32 girl-friendly schools in Bolivia”. As you know, this project is about teaching and practicing simple methods for improving water, sanitation and hygiene conditions to kids at schools in the municipality of Independencia (Bolivia), with a special focus on gender-sensitive issues like menstrual hygiene management.
In general, the project has been advancing well in 2013. The teachers, students, directors and community leaders accepted with much delight the simple ways of disinfecting water and the habits of improving hygiene and sanitation conditions, not only at school where they are trained, but also extending these to their homes.
One project highlight of 2013 was the celebration of World Handwashing Day on October 15. The activity was held as an educational marketplace at Independencia’s main square, with each participating school presenting its own creative stand. The professors of the schools expressed their support and helped the children to prepare the event even though it was exams period. Monica Mamani, a teacher at the “Laura Vicuna” school said, “We participated even though there were a lot of activities in the school and it was worth it, only bringing the tables to the main square was costly because of the buses but besides that, everything was easy.” On his part, the District Director of Education was the master of ceremonies and inaugurated the event World Handwashing Day.
The children from one school performed a street theater with mimes, demonstrating the consequences of washing hands and including the topic of water pollution. Children from another school explained different methods of water disinfection, and others presented a sociodrama with puppets which made a splash with the audience.
In November, Margoth Garcia, the project facilitator of the SODIS Foundation, organized what would be the first,. “General Assembly of the Water Committees”, composed of the schoolchildren in Independencia. This assembly brought together 194 child leaders from 18 schools. The event was supported by the Mayor and inaugurated by the District Director Oscar Teran who expressed his happiness to take part in this activity and at the end of his speech directly told the children: “You represent the best of the Independencia district!” At the end of the assembly, the professors closing the ceremony stated that, “The assembly was a success, a unique experience, and I am very happy to have been part of this project.”
As you can see, within a short time this project managed to bring about significant changes and positive impacts to the schools and families of Independencia. We are looking forward for the new school year to start soon (in Bolivia, the educational cycle goes from January to December), and our project team is getting prepared for a lot of activities in 2014. On behalf of the whole project team, I would like to thank you for your support and invite you to be a part of this project. Together, we shall take this project onto the next level in 2014!
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