Field Note #201: Phase Two
While phase one focuses on providing the necessary hardware for access to clean water, phase two focuses on providing the software: WASH training.
In the business of providing clean, sustainable water sources, WASH stands for Water and Sanitation Hygiene. This curriculum allows the recipients of clean water access to fully understand and practice proper sanitation and hygiene procedures such as hand washing, cleaning food, and tooth brushing.
Without this training, communities are still at risk of contracting waterborne illnesses and infections; if a person does not know how to correctly use clean water to sanitize their food or clean their dishes, they may continue to use dirty water to complete these tasks, thus completely missing the point of using clean water for hygiene and safety purposes.
Volunteers get to partner with these communities during this process in order to help provide education and training. Volunteers hold community meetings and meet with children in schools to practice hand washing techniques - using glitter to simulate germs passed between people by handshake or other physical contact.
This process, as well as the first phase of every W|W project, requires a great amount of trust-building and partnership. Our Nepali Field Coordinator, Abhishek Basnet, spends a majority of his time building relationships and immersing himself in these communities.
Because W|W focuses on partnering with communities, it’s increasingly important that these relationships are strong and that community members work together with volunteers and take ownership in their own water project and sanitation practices. WASH education allows them to do exactly that.
- Haley Banks Harwood, W|W Intern