“Let’s dance our way to a cleaner world!” This and many other catchy slogans defined the “WATERPROOF PROJECT”. In this project, rhythm meets hygiene in a captivating way, designed to raise awareness about the importance of water sanitation and hygiene across schools in Lusaka.
The “WATERPROOF PROJECT”, also known as “Dance4WASH Zambia”, is an awareness-raising campaign conducted from 5th to 23rd June 2023 as part of the Lusaka Water Security Initiative (LuWSI). Viva con Agua provided financial support for the campaign, which took place in five selected schools across Lusaka: Chibolya Combined School, Lilayi Secondary School, Fight Poverty Community School, Mtendere Primary School and Chainama Special School. The campaign aims to promote proper WASH practices and facilitates improved access to WASH information, with a particular emphasis on handwashing, using dance as a tool for awareness-raising.
The campaign was launched during a LuWSI Child Focus Session at the 11th Zambia Water Forum and Exhibition held at Mulungunshi Conference Centre on 13th June. The session was attended by Hon. Mike Mposha, the Zambian Minister of Water Development and Sanitation, who urged all stakeholders to engage with communities to promote hygiene messages. Hon. Mposha also emphasised the need to improve water supply and sanitation in schools, as water is the first line of defence against diseases.
The project received support from key stakeholders, including the Ministry of Education and the Lusaka District Health Office, as well as LuWSI partners such as CaDev-Capacity Development, Lusaka City Council, WaterAid Zambia, the Centre for Water, Sanitation and Rehabilitation (WASARec) and NatuReS.
To drum up support and interest among children, the campaign worked with local singer/songwriter sensation “Ndine Emma” to develop an infectious and lively beat that children could easily grove to. His involvement also made him a significant promoter of the hygiene message through dance. Furthermore, the campaign partnered with the local dance crew, Afro Fusion, to bring the song to life. The dance crew collaborated with students in schools to craft a choreography, which they then performed to their peers during the school assembly. This helped convey the handwashing message of “dancing your way to a healthier future”.
Pupils and teachers enjoyed the innovative campaign, with kids taking up the challenge to interpret the song and dance moves in their own unique way. The campaign’s success and inspiration was based on the collaboration between partners on the LuWSI platform, particularly under the Green Schools partnership programme. LuWSI partners continue to foster multi-stakeholder cooperation to promote water, sanitation and hygiene which will contribute to the water security of the city.
Water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) are fundamental elements of sustainable development and are critical for the health and well-being of individuals and communities. However, many children, teachers, and pupils still face challenges related to inadequate WASH facilities in their schools and communities. The lack of safe water, adequate sanitation, and hygiene facilities leads to poor health, absenteeism, and a compromised learning environment.
The Centre for Water, Sanitation and Rehabilitation (WASAReC) and the Chevening Alumni Association of Zambia (CAAZ) organized a WASH hackathon competition on 24th February 2023. The participating schools are part of the Green Schools Partnership Program (GSPP), an initiative implemented under the Lusaka Water Security Initiative and supported by GIZ’s Natural Resources Stewardship (NatuReS) Programme.
The hackathon was the culmination of the Young WASH Voice Campaign (YWVC), which aimed to build capacity in school-going children aged 10 to 17 years in climate-resilient WASH governance and to provide these young learners with a platform to identify and suggest WASH solutions in their schools and communities.
Empowering Pupils to Contribute to WASH Solutions in Their Schools
The campaign recruited 120 pupils from four schools in Lusaka: Chakunkula Combined School, Foxdale Secondary School, Mumana Primary School, and New Ng’ombe Primary School. Before the start of the hackathon, the participants attended guest lectures on climate-resilient and inclusive WASH in schools and communities for four weeks. This was followed by eight weeks of mentoring learners in the problem ideation process and public speaking to support them in identifying WASH problems and their sustainable solutions. Through this process, the learners also got prepared to communicate their ideas to different audiences effectively.
Learning and problem identification focused on four thematic areas:
Inclusive sanitation and solid waste management
Menstrual hygiene management, hygiene promotion, and water security
Development of a school WASH Handbook covering these topics, games, and the WASH alphabet
Other materials developed included the WASH Hackathon Workbook, the Hackathon Process pamphlet, and posters.
Empowering Change: The Key Results and Achievements of the WASH Hackathon
The learners and teachers were pleased with the training received and had a chance to participate in the hackathon actively. With the lectures and mentorship, the pupils were able to identify their challenges and gain knowledge on WASH stewardship. The campaign equipped 120 learners with climate-resilient and inclusive WASH knowledge to become champions of change in their schools and communities.
The outcome of the hackathon was the identification of several WASH challenges in each of the four schools. These included the lack of menstrual hygiene management facilities, water shortages in the dry season, unsafe toilets shared between older learners and pre-schoolers, vandalism of water facilities, and poor solid waste management in schools and communities.
The hackathon provided an opportunity for learners to actively participate in identifying WASH challenges in their schools and communities and propose sustainable solutions. The documented priority challenges that the learners perceived can serve as a reference for WASH implementers when considering supporting schools in improving WASH service access and stewardship.
Moreover, the hackathon achieved some results in addressing the identified challenges. Some schools received support to increase water storage capacity to mitigate water shortages, especially during the dry season. Additionally, some schools received support to run water quality tests and received chlorine donations to improve access to safe drinking water.
The documented challenges can inform WASH implementers in their efforts to improve WASH service access and stewardship in schools and communities.
Summary of the Achievements:
120 learners equipped with climate-resilient and inclusive WASH knowledge for them to save as champions of change in their schools and communities.
Documented priority challenges as perceived by learners (service users) that WASH implementers can reference as they consider supporting schools in improving WASH service access and stewardship.
Some schools have already received support to increase water storage capacity to mitigate on water shortages in the school, especially during the dry season.
Some schools have been supported to run water quality tests and received chlorine donations to improve access to safe drinking water in the school.
Feedback from Teachers and Pupils:
“The way we have been trained is good, but you should also train us in basic skills like how to fix a tap. Also, give sensitizations to all pupils on water security and how to take care of the water facilities so that there is no more vandalism.” Grade 10 pupil, Foxdale Secondary School.
“I am confident that through this campaign, our learners are prepared to be the young WASH champions in their respective schools and communities. They will be able to champion good practices and be able to speak to be heard on WASH matters.” – Lusaka District Education Board Secretary (DEBS).
Importance of Partnership: Achieving Significant Results in a Resource-Constrained Environment
As the Mayor of Lusaka, Her Honour Ms. Chilando Chitangala noted, “Such programs are very good, as they engage children in important matters while they are young. I therefore urge the schools through the District Education Board Secretary to create WASH Clubs where this knowledge gained today may continue to be built up.” The success of the WASH hackathon and YWVC can be attributed to the collaboration and engagement of various partners who supported the initiative financially and by providing the necessary human resources and logistics. This partnership demonstrated the importance of coordination and collaboration, where each partner brought their strengths to the table, to achieve significant results even in a resource-constrained environment.
Follow-up Activities: Strengthening WASH Provision in Schools and Communities
The team behind the YWVC and WASH hackathon is already planning a follow-up event where participating schools will implement their suggested solutions. This event will provide an excellent opportunity to continue building on the knowledge gained during the Young WASH Voice Campaign and to further strengthen the partnership between various organizations involved in WASH provision. The team is looking for partners to sponsor this event.
In conclusion, the WASH hackathon competition and the Young WASH Voice Campaign were highly successful in empowering young learners and building their capacity in climate-resilient WASH governance. The pupils were able to identify their WASH-related challenges and propose feasible solutions, demonstrating the importance of engaging children in important matters while they are young. The success of this initiative can be attributed to the collaboration and engagement of various partners, highlighting the importance of partnerships in achieving significant results even in a resource-constrained environment.
Collaborating for Change: The Organizational Structure of LuWSI
LuWSI is a multistakeholder collaboration platform that brings together public sector, private sector, civil society, and development organizations to work towards achieving water security for the residents and businesses of Lusaka. The partnership engages in dialogue, leadership, analysis, knowledge generation, advocacy, and awareness-raising to plan and develop projects for a healthy and prosperous city of Lusaka.
Growing Together: The Evolution and Governance of LuWSI’s Multistakeholder Partnership
With support from GIZ’s International Water Stewardship Programme (now NatuReS) in 2016, LuWSI has grown from 16 to over 33 partners who collaborate through the platform. LuWSI partners are bound by an MOU signed by the leadership of each organization. The partnership is governed by a Steering Board responsible for overall decision-making. The Technical Committees are responsible for knowledge, advocacy, projects, collaboration, resourcing, and membership. LuWSI’s administrative body is the secretariat, which coordinates the day-to-day affairs of the partnership. The secretariat has two full-time staff and has been housed at the National Water Supply and Sanitation Council (NWASCO) since 2018, one of the founding partners of LuWSI.
Importance of Formalizing the Partnership
LuWSI is a novel multistakeholder partnership for natural resources stewardship in Lusaka. Formalization is vital for its functionality and sustainability. It establishes the partnership as a legal entity, inspiring confidence and conferring legitimacy. Formalization also enables the partnership to manage funds and provide job security for its employees.
The Journey Towards Formalization
In 2017, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) supported a study to assess various options for formalizing the LuWSI partnership. The study evaluated formalization as a trust, a private company limited by shares, a private company limited by guarantee, an association, a non-governmental organization, and a water users association. After careful evaluation, the most viable option was to legalize the partnership as a company limited by guarantee. However, private sector companies and government institutions expressed skepticism, as it was not yet clear what the legal and administrative implications were for each organization that had joined the partnership at that time.
The partnership initially postponed the decision until 2021. In that year, the National Water Supply and Sanitation Council (NWASCO), Lusaka Water Supply and Sanitation Company (LWSC), Zambian Breweries (ZB), and Coca-Cola Beverages Zambia (CCBZ) renewed their efforts to formalize the partnership. These institutions conducted a detailed legal analysis with implications, which alleviated concerns about formalizing the partnership as a company limited by guarantee. This option was deemed the most suitable for LuWSI, as it would enable the partnership to subsist as a well-defined independent legal entity that operates in the best interests of its objectives. It entails stringent fiduciary reporting requirements that are beneficial for accountability, is tax exempt, allows for ease of entry and exit of new members without property transfer, and is not affected by changes in membership, guarantors, and directors. The LuWSI Steering Board reached consensus on this option, and the LuWSI secretariat began registration formalities, resulting in the formalization of the partnership in December 2022.
With this new impetus and momentum, the partnership is actively seeking to increase resource mobilization to ensure the functionality of the secretariat and effective coordination of stakeholder engagements and projects. A Partnership wide workshop is scheduled for May 2023 to discuss the prioritisation of activities for the year and resourcing strategies.
From 13th to 17th of March 2023, the first ever International Learning Exchange on WASH in Schools (WinS) took place on the African continent. The annual event, which was held before in South- and South-East Asia for 10 years, was hosted in Grand-Bassam in Côte d’Ivoire. The jointly organized event by UNICEF and GIZ brought together 103 participants from 26 different African nations like Kenya, Mali, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Uganda, South Africa and Zambia, as well as Sweden, USA, Germany and the Philippines.
Partnering for an improved access to WASH in Schools
The learning exchange provided an opportunity to connect Ministries of Education and their key WASH in Schools partners (NGOs, INGOS and development partners), while providing partners with a forum to explore concepts for regional and global collaboration on WASH in Schools and related emerging thematic areas with global experts. The country teams also had the opportunity to present their respective experiences, fostering a stronger exchange between different African countries and other stakeholders. This also enabled them to draw lessons from each other’s experiences and tools to stimulate and facilitate sustainable scaling-up of WASH in School programming in their respective countries.
School visits, discussions and practical lessons
The 5-day event also included school visits to give participants the chance to observe on-the-ground activities and facilities, Monitoring & Evaluation systems, and have discussions with teachers, learners, and the school management staff to draw on their practical lessons.
NatuReS teams from Zambia and South Africa supported the event together with key stakeholders from their respective countries, and shared insights from their work implemented and planned around WASH in Schools.
Experiences from South Africa and Zambia
The country team Zambia comprised of two partners from the NatuReS programme, as well as the School Hygiene and Nutrition (SHN) Director from the Zambian Ministry of Education and the LuWSI Coordinator. The SHN Director presented the current state of monitoring of WASH in relation to the SDGs in Zambia and also shared the successes with regards to budget allocation towards the roll-out of reusable menstrual hygiene pads.
The South African team, which just started a work package around WASH in Schools as part of a DeveloPPP project with Unilever, used the insightful event to connect with key stakeholders and learn more about the WinS approach.
Innovations for taking WASH in Schools to the next level
The learning event also brought out several innovations in WinS like the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) currently being applied in teacher training schools for Infection Prevention Control in Malawi. The event was also characterised by exhibits of various innovative products like cost effective group handwashing facility designs, reusable menstrual pads and more. By exchanging experiences and sharing best practices, participants aim at taking WASH in Schools to the next level!