Children as WASH and COVID-19 ambassadors and role models in schools, Kachele Trust School, Lusaka Zambia.

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Children as WASH and COVID-19 ambassadors and role models in schools, Kachele Trust School, Lusaka Zambia.

Following the government directive to close all schools in light of the COVID-19 pandemic in March of this year and only allow classes for children in Examination classes to continue, Kachele Trust School opted to embark on a COVID-19 response project by school going children aged 11-12 as a way of giving children a voice in these challenging times. With schools closed children have been side-lined when it comes to WASH messages specifically targeted at them.

Recognising this Kachele has taken the stride to promote WASH and COVID-19 response by making children the ambassadors and models of their communities and beyond. Kachele Trust School is a primary school set in the heart of Lusaka the Capital of Zambia and is located in a low medium income area called Kabwata. The School's Mission is to strive to provide a well ordered, caring, happy and secure learning environment where the physical, intellectual, spiritual, moral and cultural needs of children are identified and addressed.

On 24th July, the school hosted a WASH and  COVID-19 project fair where children expressed their creativity and knowledge about WASH and COVID -19. A panel of experts picked the best projects.

The objective of this event were to:
  1. Improve water and environmental sanitation facilities at school level and beyond.
  2. Use the School level for WASH education
  3. Promote improved facilities and hygiene education through  awarenesd programs.
  4. Contribute to improved health behaviour change at school ,community level and beyond by promoting WASH
Exceptional outcomes of the Fair
  1. Create art pieces of IEC material made by the children themselves
  2. Despite the absence of lab facilities within the school one of the children was resourceful enough to make hand sanitiser as a COVID -19 preventive measure. (see images below)


It would be great to know what schools and children in other parts of the globe are doing to respond to this pandemic.

Regards
Head Teacher
Mr Abraham Mushauko.
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  • Chaiwe
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  • Independent consultant (strategic planning, project management and M&E in WASH, climate action and, gender and HIV) and Part-time Solid Waste Management Lecturer at the University of Zambia.
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Re: Children as WASH and COVID-19 ambassadors and role models in schools, Kachele Trust School, Lusaka Zambia.

Hello Kachele,

Once again great initiative! it was a real pleasure to witness this activity in person and It was interesting to see the children participate and express what they know about the COVID 19 and WASH. Schools are a critical part of the infrastructure of communities and play a critical role in supporting child development, beyond academic achievement.  

In line with this, school administrators are key in implementing measures that have been put in place by the authorities, so it is necessary that they take ownership in the consideration and implementing of multiple strategies like social distancing, masks, and hand hygiene in their respective schools to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The unique and important role that schools play makes them a priority for opening and remaining open. In order to prioritize opening schools safely and helping them to remain open, communities, decision-makers, and implementers should consider adopting actions to mitigate transmission within the school environment. This initiative that Kachele is taking within its community is one such initiative that should be encouraged and supported. Returning to school during such a time poses new challenges for children and they need peers as ambassadors who can support them to adjust to this 'new normal', Including addressing social, emotional, and mental health support needs of students, addressing potential learning loss and preparing for the probability of COVID-19 cases within the broader school community which also becomes a challenge. 

Worldwide, schools have responded to COVID-19 using a variety of approaches. For example, China, Denmark, Norway, Singapore, and Taiwan all required temperature checks at school entry.  Most countries have changed the way they operate to reduce class sizes, increase physical distance between students, and keeping students in defined groups to reduce contact. Rather than national school closures, Taiwan relied on local decision-making to determine if classroom or school closures were needed, based on infection rates.

Allow me to point you to another ongoing discussion within this forum that is looking at the topic of COVID response within schools:  https://forum.susana.org/covid-19-corona-virus-pandemic-in-relationship-to-wash/24020-10-immediate-wash-in-schools-wins-actions-for-school-heads-to-manage-the-response-to-covid-19  

Regards,
Chaiwe
Co-moderator SuSanA forum
(Under consultancy contract with Skat Foundation funded by WSSCC)

Chaiwe Mushauko-Sanderse BSc. NRM, MPH
Independent consultant located in Lusaka, Zambia
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Twitter: @ChaiweSanderse

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