Students use Arts for Advocacy to improve WASH

Live & Learn has published two guidebooks for student-led advocacy campaigns that focus on ensuring that everyone in their school has access to safe drinking water, safe toilets and is practicing good hygiene behaviour. The guidebooks are called “Arts for Advocacy” and Live & Learn has published a Student Guidebook and a Teacher Guidebook.

Student WASH Clubs and their mentor teachers in schools partnering with Live & Learn in Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Fiji are now piloting these guidebooks to plan and implement WASH advocacy campaigns. The activities in the Arts for Advocacy guidebooks focus on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), but the advocacy planning process the students learn gives them confidence to use new skills to advocate for positive change in many other areas too. Why is the word ‘Art’ in the title? This is because art such as painting, photography, video, drama, music, stories and dance are powerful tools to inspire people to change their thinking and actions.



Arts for Advocacy – Student Guide

The student guidebook has been written so that the students in a WASH Club can work through each activity themselves, without needing a teacher. They learn about establishing a WASH Club that is inclusive. They also learn about the importance of WASH as an issue for girls.The student guidebook is written so that students around age 11 and older can work through each activity in their WASH Club without too much external support. Training is provided to teachers on how to support, but not direct, the advocacy activities of the student WASH Clubs.

Arts for Advocacy – Teacher Guide

The teacher guidebook helps teachers to support any club or group in their school plan and implement WASH advocacy campaigns. Teachers’ revisit important principles of child participation, inclusion, and how to support children and young people in activities where they take the lead and show that they can have a voice in making positive changes in the school and community.



New Ideas

WASH Clubs and teachers in partner schools in PNG, Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu are using the new guidebooks to plan and implement advocacy events, including activities for global emphasis days such as Global Hand-washing Day and World Water Day. Feedback has been very positive. Students in the Solomon Islands appreciated learning about different types of power through the power analysis activities (based on ‘How Change Happens‘ by Duncan Green, specially Part 1, Chapter 2: ‘Power lies at the heart of change’).

The Arts for Advocacy guidebook also uses clear illustrations and examples to introduce students and teachers to tools used in complex systems thinking, and how to plan advocacy activities in complex environments that target specific audiences and specific types of change. Teachers have expressed how these ideas are helping them think about how they teach other subjects also. In Vanuatu the two guidebooks are being used by government Curriculum Development officers to integrate WASH in Schools into the primary school curriculum.



Source: The Systems Thinker: ‘Learning about Connection Circles’


The Arts for Advocacy Student and Teacher Guidebooks available for download from the Resources section of the Live & Learn website, and a dedicated Arts for Advocacy website. The Arts for Advocacy Guidebooks were published through the Western Pacific Sanitation Marketing & Innovation Program, implemented by Live & Learn through funding from the Australian government through the Civil Society WASH Fund.

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