Our project has allowed for many aspects of our own learning but has made for significant changes in our village regarding issues surrounding WASH. We have made sustainable change and development that has met the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Teaching school water sanitation and hygiene (SWASH) lessons has allowed for particular developments amongst the population. We covered many areas in over forty hours of lessons during our project. These lessons covered content such as personal hygiene, environmental hygiene, cleanliness around their homes, and handwashing, including the six hand-washing steps.
These lessons involved classroom interactions and energisers allowing the children to fully engage. SWASH has taught children knowledge and skills in water, sanitation and hygiene practices. These lessons will result in long-term benefits for the village and have a lasting impact on the community because children will grow and develop using the WASH practices we have taught.
In addition to the lessons, the establishment of the school SWASH club will leave a further imprint at the school. A group of twenty children have been given special responsibilities in order to maintain and enforce WASH at school including litter picking, refilling tippy-taps, and watering the sack-garden. The school sack garden is an important feature in our nutritional project. It showed the children the construction, maintenance and final product involved in the responsibility of conservation. This is a vital aspect of our project that will remain sustainable after we leave and provide families with fruit and vegetables, which is, of course, part of their healthy, balanced diet.
Our Action Days over the course of our three-month stay in Pingalame involved the whole community and allowed for significant awareness raising in our village. We were able to spread messages of the importance of WASH and actively integrate with members of our village allowing for positive relations throughout our stay. The explanations and demonstrations of tippy-tap constructions were greatly received, and encouraged people to build their own and, of course, further reiterated the importance of hand washing.
However, our greatest achievement in Pingalame and our most sustainable development was the construction of the school latrines. The school was using an old toilet block that only had 6 toilets for over 400 pupils. We have now built a brand new block for the children in the village that will benefit many generations to come. Within the girl’s toilet block, we installed a menstrual changing room, which we hope will follow in a reduction of girl drop-outs when they start puberty, and allow them to remain in school to further their education.
When we leave the village of Pingalame, we feel confident in our role as active citizens, creating lasting, sustainable change and development, contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals and are one step-closer to achieving the action plan for people, planet and prosperity.