WASH = Water, Sanitation and Hygiene
Like air, most of us living in developed countries take the availability safe water for granted. However, for more than 748 million others, safe, clean water is a luxury not yet experienced. In fact, for far too many people, the water that is accessible is more likely to cause serious illness- and even death- than to sustain life. More than 840,000 people die each year from water, sanitation, and hygiene-related causes.
Every minute, a child dies from a water-related illness.
World Water Relief is dedicated to combating this appalling, but correctable crisis. Our approach not only includes the installation of water filtration systems, local training on maintaining the system, ongoing maintenance, but hygiene education. This education is critical to help prevent the spread of waterborne disease.
To bring about meaningful and lasting we change, we center our education on WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) in schools. Teaching safe water and sanitation practices, in addition to hygiene & health-related skills, enables children to become agents for change in the home and in their community. WASH in schools significantly reduces hygiene-related disease, increases student attendance and learning achievement, and contributes to personal dignity and gender equality.
World Water Relief commits 10 years to maintaining each WASH in schools project.
• 40% of diarrhea cases in children are from transmission in schools rather than homes
• 443 million school days are lost each year due to water-related diseases
• Diarrhea is the second biggest killer of children under five years old worldwide
• An estimated one in three school-aged children in the developing world are infested with intestinal worms. Not only do these illnesses rob children of school attendance and achievement, they are underlying causes of malnutrition and stunting.
WASH Project Components
• Integrated life-skills based education that focuses on key hygiene & health behaviors using participatory teaching techniques
• Provision of sustainable supplies of safe water for drinking and hand-washing
• Provision of hand-washing stations with soap along with improved maintenance of latrine and bathroom facilities
• Outreach to children’s families and to the wider community
WWR Water Clubs
Along with weekly hygiene education in the classroom, WWR is distinct from other water organizations, in that we created 15-member water clubs at each of our project schools. Each summer, the World Water Relief hygiene coordinators in Haiti and the Dominican Republic meet with the clubs once a week to teach proper WASH practices and introduce new topics. Last summer the focus centered on Cholera, intestinal round worms and waterborne parasites.
As part of the summer practicum, students are taught how to take care of their WWR school filtration systems, including the drinking and hand-washing stations at their schools. hey also engage in friendly competitions between school clubs that conclude with a field trip for the winning team. The club members also hold community WASH parades, visit the homes of their neighbors to teach WASH and distribute soap.
During the school year, our hygiene coordinators visit each project school once per week. They spend about 1 hour in each school and circulate throughout 3- 4 classes during their visit. Often, 1 or 2 members of the water clubs accompany them for the school lessons. With their help, younger students are taught fundamental hygiene habits. The older grade levels are taught not only the basics, but the more in-depth material we teach to the water clubs during the summer. By guiding and teaching their peers, club members learn leadership and public speaking skills.
Ultimately, the goal is to create healthier and happier communities by permanently improving the sanitation and hygiene habits of the students and their families through the WWR WASH in schools program. In 2014, we had 185 club members who actively enrolled in helping us teach their schools, families and communities the principals of WASH. This number will increase with each new project and school year.