Students use Arts for Advocacy to improve WASH

Live & Learn has published two guidebooks for student-led advocacy campaigns to make sure everyone in their school has access to safe drinking water, safe toilets and is practicing good hygiene behaviour. The guidebooks are called “Arts for Advocacy” and Live & Learn has published a Student Guidebook and a Teacher Guidebook.

Student WASH Clubs and their mentor teachers in schools partnering with Live & Learn in Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Fiji are now piloting these guidebooks to plan and implement WASH advocacy campaigns. The activities in the Arts for Advocacy guidebooks focus on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), but the advocacy planning process the students learn gives them confidence to use new skills to advocate for positive change in many other areas too. Why is the word ‘Art’ in the title? This is because art such as painting, photography, video, drama, music, stories and dance are powerful tools to inspire people to change their thinking and actions.


Arts for Advocacy – Student Guide

The student guidebook has been written so that the students in a WASH Club can work through each activity themselves, without needing a teacher. They learn about establishing a WASH Club that is inclusive. They also learn about the importance of WASH as an issue for girls. The student guidebook is written so that students around age 11 and older can work through each activity themselves, but it is always better if there is a teacher or an adult to help them when they have questions.

Arts for Advocacy – Teacher Guide

The teacher guidebook helps teachers to support any club or group in their school plan and implement WASH advocacy campaigns. Teachers’ revisit important principles of child participation, inclusion, and how to support children and young people in activities where they take the lead and show that they can have a voice in making positive changes in the school and community.

The teacher guidebook has been written as a companion to the student guidebook. The advocacy process outlined in each guidebook is not something you work through in an afternoon, but it is something that students WASH Clubs work through over several weeks. The student WASH Clubs may only plan three or four big advocacy events in a year, linked into significant global days such as Global Handwashing Day or Menstrual Hygiene Day.

New Ideas

WASH Clubs and teachers in partner schools in PNG, Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu are piloting the new guidebooks. Feedback has been very positive. Students in the Solomon Islands appreciated learning about different types of power through the power analysis activities (based on ‘How Change Happens’ by Duncan Green, specially Part 1, Chapter 2: ‘Power lies at the heart of change’


In Vanuatu the two guidebooks were presented to a forum of Curriculum Development officers, and in Fiji teachers and students were introduced to the Arts for Advocacy process through a weekend camp that featured a guest artist. The Arts for Advocacy guidebook also uses clear illustrations and examples to introduce students and teachers to tools used in complex systems thinking, and how to plan advocacy activities in complex environments that target specific audiences and specific types of change. Teachers have expressed how these ideas are helping them think about how they teach other subjects also.

Source: The Systems Thinker: ‘Learning about Connection Circles’

Source: Centre for Evaluation Innovation: ‘The Advocacy Strategy Framework’

During the next 12 months Live & Learn will get feedback from the students and teachers piloting the Arts for Advocacy Guidebooks, and incorporate any suggested improvements. The Arts for Advocacy Student and Teacher Guidebooks is available for download from the Arts for Advocacy website The website will evolve to share news and learning from the testing of the guidebooks until the completion of the WPSIP in June 2018.

The Arts for Advocacy Guidebooks were published through the Western Pacific Sanitation Marketing & Innovation Program, implemented by Live & Learn through funding from the Australian government through the Civil Society WASH Fund.

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