Over 60 teachers from 42 schools in Guadalcanal Province had successfully completed a two days WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) teacher’s training workshop last week in Honiara.
The workshop organized by the Ministry of Education and Human Resources, Guadalcanal Province Education Authority with support from the UNICEF is part of a five-year project to improve water and sanitation systems including hygiene behaviours in these selected schools.
Speaking at the opening of the workshop, Minister for the Guadalcanal Provincial Ministry of Education and Human Resources, Lazarus Rima says the province is grateful for the combine support on the initiative which will greatly preserve and enhance the health of children and in turn improve their school performances.
He also highlighted the need for commitment and dedication by the school teachers.
“Your schools are very privileged to have been selected for this WASH in schools project but the success of it heavily depends on your commitment and dedication therefore I would like to urge all of you to commit your effort, knowledge and skills in this endeavour.”
UNICEF WASH Specialist Mamita Thakkar and lead facilitator says the WASH in schools programme is crucial because it encourages the development of healthy behaviours for life. “By providing schools with safe drinking water, improved sanitation facilities and hygiene education, students will develop healthy behaviours for life and furthermore fulfil the children’s rights to health, education and participation.”
She also explained that WASH in schools had been widely recognized for its significant contributions to achieving the Millennium Development Goals particularly those related to providing access to primary education, reducing child mortality, improving water and sanitation and promoting gender equality.
Mrs Thakkar says UNICEF is pleased to support the government of Solomon Islands in its efforts to creating an enabling environment for children to learn and grow in and will continue to provide technical assistance required throughout the lifespan of the project.
Undersecretary of the Ministry of Education and Human Resources, Ambros Malefoasi stated that the project is significant in enabling MERHD to see first-hand on what is happening in the schools in terms of WASH and the best practices that can be replicated in other provinces.
“After all, donors and experts will only be here for now but it is us Solomon Islanders who will continue to remain and therefore it is up to us to make it a success or a failure. With this I urge you the good teachers to work together with the authorities and let’s make this a success for the sake of our children and the future of our country”, said Mr Malefoasi.
At the closing, Mrs Nastassia Dara head teacher at Burns Creek primary school on behalf of the participating teachers thanked the donors, partners and facilitators stating that the training also gave new insights into teaching.
“We have learnt so much throughout the two days and more especially on our roles as teachers to not only teach but go that extra mile to ensure our students are also preserved and maintained.
“We want to assure that will work hard and do our very best in this WASH in schools project.”