The environmental health division of the Ministry of Health and Medical service has successfully conducted a two weeks training for community WASH(Water supply, Sanitation and Hygiene) Facilitator in Guadalcanal province.
Part of the training was held at Balasuna training centre and later at the Ministry’s head quarter in Honiara.
The training ended last week with 25 people attending, including provincial health staff of environmental Health Division from provincial and Non Government Organisation NGO and community worker.
The aim of the training was to train community facilitators acquire skills and be able to implement the new community engagement approach towards rural water system, sanitation and hygiene.
The approach involves conducting participatory workshops for community facilitators before and after construction of water system to engage them in making decision on their system.
WASH training coordinator Leornard Olivera of the Ministry said, during the two weeks course trainees have developed new skills in running community workshops on how to help the community in forming a strong WASH committee, including an equal number of men and women;
– Establish a good system for maintenance;
– Develop a good system for raising funds to pay for spare parts and repair;
– Develop new hygiene practise – washing hand with soap, covering water and food etc..
He said, during the second week of the course, participants have worked in two teams, practising their skills by organising workshops in two villages in Guadalcanal namely Maravovo and Veuru.
Topics covered were; WASH policy and program, existing situation, community ownership and management, water system design, involving women and person with special need, work planning for construction, hygiene, WASH rules and by-laws, forming WASH committee, managing money for maintenance and disaster risk, prevention and action plan.
Mr Oliver said, this is an improvement on earlier approach which focused more on water supply than sanitation and hygiene. The new program provides priority to hygiene promotion.
“ A water system on its own will not improve health. To improve health people we need to keep the water safe for drinking and wash our hands with soap and stop defecating in the bush and building and use toilet.”
By SOLOMON LOFANA