WaterStar: Joseph Dabuo of Ghana

WaterstarThis is the first in a series of posts highlighting people around the world who embody the ideals of the Clean and Conserve Education Program: making the world a safer and healthier place through water conservation and hygiene education. The first round of WaterStars were identified through the May 2016 survey of people who downloaded the Clean and Conserve Education Program materials or took the online trainings. WaterStars will receive printed copies of each book as well as enamel WaterStar pins to recognize their work. Anyone who has used the Clean and Conserve materials is eligible for consideration to be a WaterStar award winner. Submit your story to learn more.

Joseph Dabuo, Ghanaian entrepreneurJoseph Dabuo, Ghanaian entrepreneur Entrepreneur Joseph Dabuo wants to make an impact on his native Ghana as well as the wider world through actions that respect local culture while encouraging meaningful change. A semi-finalist for the World Merit Youth Global Climate Challenge, Dabuo learned about the Clean and Conserve Education Program through World Merit. After downloading the free materials and taking the online trainings, Joseph held a series of workshops for different audiences in the Ga East municipality of the Greater Accra region of Ghana. He chose the area because of its lack of safe water, inadequate sanitation facilities and high rates of waterborne illness.

“In collaboration with local NGOs including GrassRootsAfrica, where I used to work, as well as with other community stakeholders such as women’s and youth groups and clubs, I focused on reaching very deprived primary school students—usually children ages six through 12,” Joseph said in a recent interview.

Ga East municipality of the Greater Accra region of GhanaGoogle Map showing Ga East municipality of the Greater Accra region of Ghana The workshops focused on highlighting sanitation and water-related problems and targeted a number of different audiences within the community. Food vendors were trained using the “Healthy Personal Hygiene” and “Surface Sanitation Solutions” activities. Key community stakeholders were trained to play an advocacy role for sanitation and water issues as well as to train other community members. School health, hygiene and environment clubs were trained in proper hand washing with soap using the “Healthy Personal Hygiene” activity. Water Management Boards were trained to oversee the management, monitoring and maintenance of water facilities in their communities using the “Conserve Water” activity. In all, Joseph helped inaugurate seven school clubs, train 20 food vendors and present to 10 water board members in multiple communities throughout Ga East.

“The entire guide is full of useful activities, especially the warm ups,” Joseph said of the Clean and Conserve Activity Guide for Educators. “The concepts are explained very explicitly, and the picture demonstrations in the guide are inclusive and easy to understand, which promoted quick understanding of the concepts that I wanted to teach.”

Dabuo worked with children and adults to teach about topics such as sanitation and hand hygieneJoseph worked with children and adults to teach about topics such as sanitation and hand hygiene Joseph said that having different materials targeting different age groups was also helpful.

“The concepts and activities target each age group appropriately and according to their cognitive and physical abilities,” he said. “So, for example, when I worked with adults in Water Management Boards I knew exactly which activities to use.”

Being able to take online trainings before using the materials increased his confidence, Joseph noted. “I felt fully prepared as a facilitator, and since the materials have a lot of resources—Internet links, songs, data, etc.—I felt on top of the issues.”

Looking ahead, Joseph said he will continue to use the materials when he has the opportunity to facilitate workshops with children and adults. He would also like to see Clean and Conserve incorporated into school curriculum in Ghana, where water and sanitation continue to be serious challenges.

“The issue of sanitation and water is critical and we must start the revolution from the grassroots,” he concluded.

The Clean and Conserve Education Program, developed through the partnership between the Project WET Foundation and Ecolab, includes lessons, activities and other learning resources for children and youth ages three through 18, as well as educators. Visit the Clean and Conserve page to learn more. Originally published in English, Clean and Conserve materials are newly available in Chinese, Spanish for Mexico, French for Canada and Portuguese for Brazil (French and Portuguese materials are available for download from the English-language page).

Other WaterStars:

Ashley Satterfield of Howard County Conservancy in Maryland

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