Zambia School WASH Indaba Brings Multiple Stakeholders Together

(August 14, 2012) Today was the kick off day for the first ever WASH in Schools Indaba (a multistakeholder strategic planning meeting) in Eastern Province, Zambia. This event was convened by the Zambia Ministry of Education, UNICEF, and the USAID-funded Schools Promoting Learning Achievement through Sanitation and Hygiene (SPLASH) project, implemented by the WASHplus project. Ninety-three participants and 15 SPLASH staff gathered for the opening ceremony, along with high-level Eastern Province government representatives. An energetic traditional drumming and dancing group gave a positive and colorful beat to the occasion. 

All seven districts of Eastern Province were represented along with nine distinct stakeholder groups (including many engineers, local government officials, NGOs, cooperating partners, and the private sector). They gathered to spend the next day and a half defining trends in school water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH); finding common ground; and producing a common action agenda for reaching the goal of covering 80 percent of schools with adequate WASH facilities and activities. The morning speeches from the provincial education officer, USAID, UNICEF, and the province minister were inspiring, but everyone was thrilled by three Girl Guides who recited a poem about their right to quality education and school WASH facilities. Their rhythm—a slight rap beat—energy and conviction left some of the participants choked with emotion.

When the dignitaries left, the participants sprang to life and began tackling the task of developing timelines of events related to or influencing school WASH of a personal, global, and local nature (all Zambia and closer to home) on large swaths of paper on the walls. After presenting these timelines, the entire group was led through an exercise to develop a mind map of trends affecting the issue of school WASH. This exercise generated good ideas and heated conversations as the entire group of nearly 100 people put forth their best understanding of the school WASH world as we know if today. This mind map became the platform from which the groups dreamed up and produced future scenarios to achieve school WASH goals and then moved on to action planning.  - Sarah Fry, WASHplus Senior Hygiene Promotion Advisor

                                              Video highlights of SPLASH Indaba


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