A Training of Trainers workshop in Values-based Water Education was held in Dakar, Senegal from 12-14 May 2004 to show education experts from Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Niger and Senegal the most appropriate approaches to introducing water, sanitation and hygiene into the existing school curriculum.
The session was attended by high level education experts in curriculum development drawn from teacher training colleges, pre-school institutions, primary and secondary schools and non-formal educational institutions under the ministries of education in the seven countries.
The VBWE project is a component of the Water for African Cities programme. Raising awareness on water and sanitation issues among children in schools and communities will be highlighted in the second phase of this important programme, to support achievement of the objectives set in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD). In the first phase of the Water for African Cities programme, Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal in West Africa implemented VBWE with encouraging results. Phase II will consolidate these achievements while extending the programme to new cities. Both the countries joining the programme in Phase II as well as those currently implementing the VBWE approach in West and Central Africa have already developed detailed implementation action plans at national level. The Dakar workshop was therefore an opportunity for all participating cities to share experiences, harmonize strategies and build networks to consolidate capacity for effective implementation of the programme.
The programme received support from local television, radio and newspapers which covered the workshop and reviewed this innovative programme through positive comments and reports. Trainers were drawn from the countries that implemented the programme Phase I, namely Ghana, Senegal, and Cote d’Ivoire, having themselves been trained by eminent specialists in VBWE from the African Institute of Sathya Sai Education (TAISSE). Observers from the United States, South Africa, Zambia and UN-HABITAT also attended the workshop.
During the workshop a water classroom was officially inaugurated in the Manguier School Group, one of the VBWE pilot schools in Dakar. This water classroom will benefit not only the 283 pupils, but also participants in the non-formal water education project in the communities located in the vicinity of the school.
Participants also discussed the next steps of their national activities. Obviously, future actions will include the preparation of national training of trainers’ sessions in their respective countries. Prior to national TOT sessions, trainees will develop local training material based on what they learnt during the Dakar workshop. After refining their respective action plans, countries will implement start-up activities from October 2004.
The enthusiastic participants signed a Dakar declaration, reflecting their commitment to implement the Values-based Water Education programme in their respective countries.