In this update, we wanted to provide a short overview on what happened over the past 4 months in our project “32 girl-friendly schools in Bolivia”.
Staff of the SODIS Foundation has been working hard with the local teachers. In total, 146 teachers were trained in important topics related to safe drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene. So far, we reached the equivalent to 64% of the target set for the project, and the trainings continue.
In three schools where the teachers already have been trained, they started to implement a series of workshops for the pupils, with the support of experts from the SODIS Foundation. During these workshops, we were able to speak about how to facilitate and support healthy habits like water disinfection, hand washing at key moments (before eating and after using the bathroom) and proper use of bathrooms.
In each classroom, the teachers and pupils jointly installed a corner with safe drinking water (SODIS water bottles and jerry cans of 20 liters with chlorinated water). In some schools, they started the production of handmade soap, which is a very interesting approach to make sure that soap will be available in the future, even after the official end of our project.
Project staff, in cooperation with school managers, set up a Safe Water Committee in each school. The committees are composed of student representatives and one or two teachers. These committees are responsible for monitoring the healthy practices at school.
Meanwhile, we analyzed the conditions for the construction of ecological dry toilets in five educational units. In these schools, there is not enough water to run traditional flush-toilets, and ecological dry toilets have been identified as the best technological option. Currently, we are in the design phase of these unit, and construction will start in the next few weeks. Furthermore, we are in the process of identifying local leaders (men and women) who will help us in the next phase of the project, when we want to bring the healthy habits from the schools to the whole community.
In general the project is advancing well and according to the plans. If you think this report was useful to you, please share it with your friends and family. Please also let us know if you want more specific information, or if you have other suggestions on how to improve our work.
Best regards from the whole project team,
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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