After a stellar year where GWWI graduates provided clean water and sanitation to over 15,000 people, GWWI launches its next phase of training. 10 of the strongest teams (20 women) who graduated from our Women and Water Training in 2012 were selected to participate in this inaugural training program. They came to deepen their knowledge in WASH strategies so they could build Women-Led WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) Service Centers that can provide a variety of WASH services to meet the many different needs of their communities.
When we look at local water and sanitation needs, often communities don’t have just one issue that they are dealing with. Water access, water quality, sanitation/toilets, proper hygiene practices and water source protection are among the main problems that the communities must address. For example, just being able to provide a water filter when people don’t have proper hygiene practices – the community is still at risk of getting sick. Also, just having a water tank but no toilet and open defection is practiced, again, there are health issues at stake. Being able to provide different technologies and comprehensive hygiene education in a holistic way is the best way greatly reduce the risk of water related disease in a community.
The 10 teams that were selected to participate were able to meet their year long goals and in many cases, exceed them. The three-phase training program will be offering technologies and strategies that will cover the following WASH challenges: 1) Water Access, 2) Sanitation and 3) Water Quality. At the end of November 2012, the teams gathered for the first of the three trainings to learn to build rainwater harvesting tanks with interlocking stabilized soil brick water storage tanks. Those who had learned to build this technology last year and were able to build at least 2 tanks in their communities had an opportunity to mentor the teams who had learned another technology. This provided opportunities for experienced RWH/ISSB implementers to deepen their knowledge by coaching and allowed the new implementers to learn from their colleagues.
In addition to the technology training, all the teams were introduced to Participatory Integrated Community Development – an engagement methodology that helps communities to identify their own water issues and select the strategy and technology that they want to implement. They also began to design a WASH Advocacy plan that will help them build local WASH campaigns to change attitudes and behavior to ensure that proper WASH habits are being practiced community-wide.
At the end of this 18 month training program, these teams will have a menu of WASH services to offer their communities which will build their expertise and raise their voices in a sector where they are often not included.