WASH Education for Tomorrow’s Teachers in Vanuatu

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Live & Learn in Vanuatu has worked with school administrators, teachers, parents and students to establish WASH Committees and WASH Clubs in nine schools in Port Vila. Additionally, LLV has partnered with the Ministry of Education to integrate WASH into the existing national school health curriculum, and trained 60 student teachers through a partnership with Vanuatu Institute of Teacher Education (VITE).

Once the students graduate they will go on to work in schools all over Vanuatu, some in remote areas that may not otherwise be exposed to WASH education. By targeting these student teachers this initiative aims to indirectly improve water, sanitation and hygiene education in hundreds of schools.

The WASH elective is conducted over three sessions and offered at VITE twice a year. The students are introduced to key WASH concepts and definitions through interactive activities. For the final lesson, students create a lesson plan on a topic discussed during the previous sessions. These future teachers present to their fellow classmates during a carousel activity, describing how they would integrate WASH into a health lesson. The elective is concluded with a presentation on menstrual hygiene from the Mama’s Life Organisation in conjunction with VITE Family Life Education Coordinator.

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“Though hygiene is in our curriculum, why is it that students do not wash their hands before eating or after visiting the toilet? This elective has helped me develop more skills and knowledge in developing strategies to help students adopt healthier habits to live and grow healthy.” – Julius Eldads (final year trainee teacher, pictured above)

For the students the WASH elective counts towards their educational credits, and they are also more likely to get a leadership position as hygiene teachers at their future schools. For Live & Learn in Vanuatu the WASH elective at VITE is an important step towards the sustainability and having WASH continue to be addressed in schools after the project’s completion.

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“I now understand how to work with the community to help them increase their knowledge on how to help girls maximize their attendance in schools through safer and healthier measures to minimize segregation of menstruating female students. Measures such as creating girls’ space, ie: bathrooms, emergency kits, drying areas and counselling for girls that are menstruating for the first time.” – Samuel Taranaki (final year French-speaking trainee teacher, pictured above)

Live & Learn has worked with the International Water Centre to establish evidence-based, school-specific, water, sanitation and hygiene programming in schools as part of the Western Pacific Sanitation Marketing & Innovation program, funded by the Australian government Civil Society WASH fund.

Live & Learn has seen the following improvements through the program:

  • improved institutional capacity to understand school WASH challenges, and to plan and deliver WASH in schools
  • improved teacher led hygiene promotion in classes
  • improved peer-to-peer advocacy amongst students
  • improved engagement with national level school actors and start influencing for change on school WASH policies and budgets.

The program was implemented across four countries – Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea – and worked with 43 schools and 18,800 Students. The current Australian government funding for WASH in Schools will conclude at the end of June, with a private sector donor stepping in to continue the program.

 

 

 

 

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