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Tag: Zambia

First International Learning Exchange on WASH in Schools in Africa

Globally, 2.1 billion people lack access to safe, readily available water, and 4.5 billion people lack safely managed sanitation. This is especially problematic in schools, where many pupils and teachers gather every day, and diseases like Covid-19 can spread easily if water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) provision is lacking.

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.

group picture
Group picture of participants at the first WASH in schools learning event hosted in Africa. Copyright: GIZ/Felix Chabala

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.

presentation at wash in schools event
Grace Mwanza from GIZ Zambia moderates the international learning event. Copyright: GIZ/Jonas Kertscher

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.

exchange on wash in schools
During one of the school visits, participants of the learning event exchange with the school management of a rural school near Aboisso. Copyright: GIZ/Jonas Kertscher

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. 

school toilets in Côte d'Ivoire
A frequently vandalized toilet block of a school in an informal settlement in Aboisso is misused for gatherings, including the consumption of alcohol and drugs, making it unusable for pupils. Copyright: GIZ/Jonas Kertscher

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!

“Fit for School” learning event: Fostering exchange between Africa and Asia

The regional learning event participants pose for a group photo. Copyright: GIZ

The “Fit for School” programme, commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), aims at improving pupils’ access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene. The programme held its regional conference 2022 on 22nd – 24th November in Bangkok, Thailand. The main goal of the event was to consolidate the wealth of learning gleaned from the last eleven years of implementation, while providing partners with a forum to explore ideas for regional and global collaboration on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in schools and related emerging thematic areas.”

“Fit For School” has supported Ministries of Education in the Philippines, Indonesia, Cambodia and Laos in their rollout of national policies, implementing guidelines, and monitoring systems for WASH in schools since 2011. Since 2021, the “Fit for School Africa Initiative” has extended this support to different African countries, adapting the successful approach to the respective contexts on the ground. Among others, the programme has extended its support to Zambia by supporting the implementation of Phase 4 of the Safe Back to School campaign under the Lusaka Water Security Initiative(LuWSI).

A delegation from Zambia, including the Town Clerk for Lusaka City Council, the District Education Board Secretary, the program manager from Water Aid Zambia and an advisor from GIZ NatuReS attended the conference. Also in attendance were representatives from Malawi, South Sudan, Philippines, Indonesia, Cambodia and Laos.

The Zambian delegation receiving a certificate of attendance. Copyright: GIZ

The learning event offered an opportunity to foster a stronger exchange between different African and Asian countries facing similar challenges, and to enable them to draw lessons from each other’s experiences and tools. This exchange stimulates and facilitates sustainable scaling-up of “WASH in School” programming in their respective countries.

Author: Sonile Mutafya, NatuReS Advisor Zambia

World Rivers Day Commemoration and Launch of the Zambezi Source Restoration Project in Zambia

World Rivers Day is a celebration of the world’s waterways. It’s a day set aside to highlight and remind us of the value that rivers bring to support life, encouraging improved stewardship of all rivers around the world. The World River’s Day Celebration in Zambia was held on the 26th of September 2022 at the source of the mighty Zambezi River in Ikelenge district, in the Northwestern part of the country. The theme of this year’s celebration was “The importance of Rivers for Biodiversity. “

World Rivers Day Celebrations
World Rivers Day Celebrations.
Copyright: Ministry of Water Development and Sanitation

In the key note speech read on behalf of the Minister of Water, Development and Sanitation, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources and Member of Parliament for Ikelenge constituency Hon. Elijah Muchima, highlighted the significant role rivers play for our livelihoods. He bemoaned the degradation of rivers and freshwater ecosystems due to unregulated and overuse of water, pollution, river bank cultivation and deforestation, causing erosion and siltation of river beds. He emphasized the Zambian government’s commitment to champion policy reforms and strengthen leadership in the management of water resources, including the restoration of the Zambezi source landscape.

The Minister of Lands and Natural resources delivering the keynote speech.
Copyright: Ministry of Water Development and Sanitation

In light of this commitment, the Provincial Minister of North-Western Province, Honorable Robert Lihefu MP, launched the Zambezi Source Ecosystem Restoration Project at the same event. The project, which will be implemented in collaboration with WWF, Stanbic Bank, GIZ’s NatuReS Programme, the Forestry Department and the National Heritage Commission, seeks to improve natural resources management in the Zambezi Headwaters area. Partners aim for restoring the ecosystem to a condition representative of the native ecosystem. They will also support alternative livelihoods for the local communities.

The Managing Director and CEO of Stanbic Bank Zambia PLC, Mr. Mwindwa Siakalima, stressed the need to preserve the health of the river and pledged to continue supporting the efforts to restore the ecosystem at the source. Additionally, the Country Director of WWF, Ms. Nachila Nkhombo, urged government to take steps to legally protect the area and commended the traditional leadership for the their support in protecting the Zambezi source.

The celebration ended with a tree planting activity at the Zambezi Source, led by Her Royal Highness, Cheiftainess Ikeleng’i.

Her Royal Highness, Cheiftainess Ikeleng’i leading the tree planting process.
Copyright: Ministry of Water Development and Sanitation

NatuReS is part of the initiative to protect the Zambezi River, as the degradation of the Zambezi River source has the potential to affect everyone, and no single actor can improve water security by working alone. Different capacities are required to prevent water insecurity. Only by partnering across sectors can the Zambezi River be protected in the long run.

Author: Sonile Mutafya, NatuReS Advisor Zambia

“Fit for Schools” visits the Safe Back to School Campaign in Lusaka, Zambia

Safe learning environments remain a priority for partners collaborating under the Safe Back to School (SB2S) campaign, launched under the Lusaka Water Security Initiative`s Green Schools Partnership Proramme in reaction to the Covid-19 outbreak. Partners now hosted the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) advisor for the GIZ-implemented programme “Fit for Schools”, Ms Anna Kristina Kanathiogoda, in Lusaka. The event took place on the 10th of August 2022 at Chakunkula Combined School, one of the 180 schools in Lusaka that has so far benefitted from WASH interventions under the SB2S Campaign.

Handwashing demonstration, using the jumbo handwashing facility installed at Chakunkula Combined School in Lusaka.
Copyright: GIZ/Mu Kreativz

The campaign targets schools with large enrolment numbers, special needs, challenges with water access and availability, as well as with providing adequate sanitation. It supports sensitization programmes for teachers, learners and the surrounding communities on proper WASH practices, as well as the installation of jumbo handwashing stations for many pupils to wash their hands simultaneously. Given the campaign`s success, the Fit for Schools visit to Zambia was aimed at getting a deeper understanding of the various WASH interventions under the campaign`s previous phases.

WaterAid Zambia representative Ms. Bwalya Nachula explaining the various activities implemented under the SB2S Campaign.
Copyright: GIZ/Mu Kreativz

Safe Back to School Partners include Lusaka City Council (LCC), Lusaka District Education Board (DEBS), WaterAid Zambia and the Lusaka Water Security Initiative (LuWSI) supported by NatuReS.

Chakunkula Combined School Head Teacher Ms. Georgina Kawila, highlighting the SB2S Campaign`s impacts on the school, the learners and the communities that learners come from. She stressed the need for more WASH sensitization interventions for parents. Copyright: GIZ/Mu Kreativz

Partners highlighted the strong collaboration and coordination between different organizations under the campaign, ensuring effective delivery of the project interventions. This has positively impacted the schools; creating a clean and green environment for leaners while building trust with the communities. This improved pupils` school attendance and strengthened the relationship between schools and communities.

Fit for schools supports ministries of education to sustainably improve water, sanitation and hygiene in schools. They are extending their reach to Zambia through the SB2S Campaign and will support the fourth phase of the campaign through the NatuReS Zambia programme.

Safe Back to School Campaign Partners. Copyright: GIZ/Mu Kreativz

Author: Sonile Mutafya, NatuReS Advisor Zambia