Access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) are essential in schools to provide children with a clean and comfortable learning environment and teach them how to live healthy, happy adult lives. In many countries providing WASH facilities and encouraging improved hygiene behaviours can be challenging. A baseline study in the Solomon Islands revealed that 46% of schools in rural areas lack access to water, 65% lack access to sanitation and 66% lack handwashing facilities.
Live & Lean’s WASH in Schools program is looking to change all this, by providing support to upgrade facilities and educate students and teachers on positive hygiene practices. Tamlan School, on the western side of Honiara, not only participated in the program but also funded their own WASH in Schools activities. After hearing success stories from teachers working in partner schools, the Tamlan school administration requested teacher hygiene training at their own school, with the pledge of incurring all training expenses.
Seven teachers were selected by the school administration to participate in the two-day training. The teachers involved said they felt inspired by the program and shared plans to improve the school’s WASH facilities. This included increasing the number of handwashing stations and improving the condition of already existing water tanks, toilets and showers.
The school principal, Mr David Mane, thanked Live & Learn Solomon Islands for the educational training and expressed interest in being included in future work with the WASH in Schools program. It is now the goal of the school to move from a 2-star school to one that meets the minimum national standard.
The WASH in Schools Program is made possible through the UNICEF Solomon Islands Better Learning Environments (SIBLE) program and the New Times New Targets project, implemented with Plan International Australia through the Australian government Water for Women Fund.