Teddy Tindamanyire watched the boy tighten his grip on the rope and yank with all his might. The pressure was too great; the bucket tipped, and water went flying. Teddy chuckled to herself as the children around her screamed with delight.
Through the Project WET activity 8-4-1, One for All, eight Kampala students, representing water’s different users, and their classmates had just learned a valuable lesson in water management.
In the activity, students suspend a bucket of water (representing a community’s water supply) in the air by pulling on ropes tied to the bucket; their pulling represents the needs of different water users.
In 2003, Teddy, an employee of the Uganda Ministry of Water and the Environment, began volunteering her time traveling from village to village using Project WET activities to educate primary school students and teachers about important water concepts.
“The teachers and children love the activities because they differ from customary methods of teaching,” she said. “In addition, the activities make it easy for students to connect the lessons to the realities they face every day.”
To familiarize teachers with Project WET activities and prepare them for using the activities with students, Teddy first meets with teachers one-on-one. They review activities in her single copy of the Project WET Curriculum and Activity Guide and select a couple to be demonstrated.
Several teachers come together for an afternoon, and Teddy presents the selected activities. Then, she guides them as they practice the activities themselves. Finally, the teachers return to their schools to use the activities with their students.
Limited funding and scarce resources are two challenges Teddy faces. “Teachers in Uganda, especially those in rural areas, are eager for teaching tools. If sufficient funding were available, I could hold longer workshops in more locations, conduct follow up, and facilitate the use of Project WET in communities.”
Currently, Teddy and the teachers she trains rely on students to carry the messages about water resources learned from Project WET activities to their homes and community.
When asked to describe her favorite Project WET memory, Teddy mentioned her first Project WET training where teachers from Uganda’s Environmental Teacher’s Association (ENVITA) created rainsticks using local materials.
“I was impressed with their interest in the activity and their enthusiasm for making student learning more engaging and practical,” she said.