Live & Learn is currently working with the Vanuatu Institute of Teacher Education to include a WASH module in the compulsory science curriculum. When the revision is completed the WASH module can be taught to all prospective teachers that are trained at the college. School teachers are one of the most important people that can influence good hygiene behaviour in their students. By engaging student teachers, Live & Learn are ensuring that good hygiene knowledge can reach out to schools across Vanuatu
When working with schools in local communities Live & Learn often faces issues of high teacher turnover, which reduces the long-term sustainability of any hygiene training done in a school. To address this problem Live & Learn engaged the Vanuatu Institute of Teacher Education to explore options for training prospective teachers in hygiene behaviour change. By providing teachers with training on teaching hygiene ideally every teacher who is posted to a community school will already have the necessary knowledge to work with their students on hygiene behaviour change activities.
As a first step the Live & Learn WASH team developed a unit on how to teach WASH in schools, which the Vanuatu Institute of Teacher Education added to their list of curriculum electives for teachers. The unit was tested and reviewed, with student teachers who completed the unit saying that they found it interesting and relevant. The student teachers who did the trial unit began recommending it to their classmates as an elective.
Annette Theophile is the Head of the Science Department at Vanuatu Institute of Teacher Education. She is responsible for the National Health and Hygiene Curriculum, and the Youth Reproductive Health Curriculum. Following the successful trial Annette reviewed the elective WASH unit in more depth. She determined the WASH unit was highly relevant, and recommended it be integrated into the compulsory science curriculum for all student teachers.
The Live & Learn WASH team has been very helpful, providing assistance and advice, and making sure any areas of WASH overlooked were emphasised.
Annette commented that the WASH components introduced by Live & Learn are now being incorporated into the science curriculum in a way that will support behavioural change by a variety of people connected with the education system, including students, teachers, educators, parents, and the community at large. Annette also said that the Live & Learn WASH team has been very helpful in this process, providing a lot of “assistance and advice in regards to the development of the training,” and “making sure that any areas of WASH that had been overlooked or neglected were emphasised and addressed properly.”
Looking to the future, Annette’s vision for WASH in the curriculum is for all educators to take ownership of the WASH training and to implement it in every school. By influencing and improving health, water, sanitation, and hygiene behaviours among students, teachers and communities, Annette believes that this project will play an important part in helping to create a better and healthier Vanuatu.
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