For years, Live & Learn Papua New Guinea has worked in schools across New Ireland Province to help students and teachers understand water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) behaviour. Recently, the team has stepped this work up even further with school WASH clubs.
Cecilia Tohiam, WASH Coordinator for Live & Learn PNG, says these clubs are turning the theoretical knowledge students and teachers have about WASH into material results.
‘There has to be a certain activity for the WASH Club to do in an organised way,’ Cecilia says. ‘That has really helped a lot, having those specific activities, targets or goals.’
These activities include tree and flower planting, painting, landscaping, cleaning up rubbish, or maintaining and improving basic WASH infrastructure and planning performances for major events like World Water Day.
Much of the responsibility falls to the children: they choose names for their clubs, work with the teacher to determine their term’s activities, and fundraise to buy tools and uniforms.
This is resulting in the impacts of the WASH clubs going well beyond only improving water, sanitation and hygiene – they are also helping kids discover their full potential.
‘Students are leading the clubs,’ Cecilia says. ‘In the classrooms it’s teacher-controlled, but in the clubs it’s a student-centred activity. Teachers are even reporting that you can see the true potential of a child. That’s really motivating.’
The Resilient WASH in the Islands of PNG Project is an Australian Aid initiative implemented by Plan International Australia in partnership with Live & Learn on behalf of the Australian Government.