According to the Encyclopedia Brittanica, the western Colombian city of Quibdó receives more rain than almost any other equatorial area on earth—an average of 420 inches a year. Residents of Quibdó rely on the heavy rainfalls to supply most of the water that they use. However, given that many of the city’s poor neighborhoods lack running water and other sanitation measures, the wet weather can also cause flooding and create water source pollution, among other issues.
The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN HABITAT) is implementing sanitation and hygiene programs in some of these neighborhoods to improve conditions in Quibdó, and Project WET is on the scene to add an educational dimension to the project.
Julia Nelson, Project WET’s project manager for Latin America and the Caribbean, held a workshop last week in Quibdó, soliciting input from 32 local educators, NGO representatives and government officials on the planned Spanish-language edition of the Healthy Water, Healthy Habits, Healthy People Educators Guide. The day-long event in Colombia follows similar workshops held earlier this year in Bolivia and Peru.
The Quibdó workshop began with a brief introduction and presentation on the project and about the mission and history of Project WET. Participants then learned the methods and hands-on approach that Project WET uses in their educational materials—mainly by doing the activities themselves. Participants were asked to pretend that they were students in school. Activities included games of “tag”, skits and creative acting scenarios, drawing pictures, reading and analyzing stories and singing songs. Following the activities, participants had the opportunity to critique Project WET’s newly revised educational materials and make suggestions of how best to adapt these materials for use in Colombia. Feedback from the evaluation forms about the workshop was positive, especially about the dynamic pedagogical techniques that Project WET uses.
To access the materials developed for Colombia, visit the WASH page.