The process began with a "writeshop"—a workshop focused on customizing educational materials—in the western Indian port city of Mangalore. The writeshop was a high-energy day, with participants enjoying hands-on Project WET water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) activities. For their part, participants provided insightful feedback on how to customize existing Project WET human values-based water, sanitation and hygiene education (HVBWSHE) materials for Mangalore.
"The enthusiasm that the Mangalore teachers expressed about values-based WASH education was fantastic," said Project WET Foundation Senior Vice President John Etgen. "It is certainly an indicator of the expected success of this project over the long term and gives us an encouraging start. We hope to replicate that success across India."
The Mangalore educators were equally optimistic, with one of the teachers commenting that she couldn't wait to try out the hands-on pedagogy because she knows it will go over so well with her students.
HVBWSHE is an innovative approach that not only seeks to impart information about water, sanitation and hygiene, but also to inspire and motivate learners to change their behavior to promote wise and sustainable use of water and sanitation. When coupled with hands-on and experiential learning, HVBWSHE can have profound effects on hygiene practices and behavior among children, which align with the Education for Sustainable Development principles as promoted by the United Nations
In all, 38 teachers from 27 schools participated in the workshop. In addition to the teachers and Project WET staff, special guests included Mr. P.P. Shetty (Senior General Manager of BASF in Mangalore), Mr. C.D. Kumar (Senior Environmental Officer of the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board) and Dr. Pradip Nandi (UN-HABITAT). The writeshop was conducted in English and the local language of Kannada, and the final customized HVBWSHE materials will also be available in both languages.
The Project WET writeshop was part of the Water Education Project, which TERI is implementing in Mangalore with support from UNHABITAT and BASF. The project establishes science laboratories in eight schools and Water Classrooms in two schools. Water quality monitoring kits will be provided to 25 schools, and teachers will be trained to conduct classroom programs on water quality for students. The students will then conduct quality tests of community drinking water supply/source, a process designed to highlight the importance of safe drinking water.