VIC YWP WASH Workshop: Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Urban Community Schools
On Thursday, 10 November 2016, the Australian Water Association and Engineers Without Borders (EWB) hosted a joint event exploring challenges in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in the Pacific Islands. The event was attended by 40 professionals and students from across the water sector and broader engineering industry, and was a great opportunity for attendees to engage with and support humanitarian engineering initiatives.
The night was opened by Celeste Ward of the Australian Water Association Young Water Professionals and a presentation by Krish Pande of Evoqua on water disinfection technologies and their application in the developing world. Another presentation by Francis Heil from EWB highlighted the sanitation crisis plaguing a third of the world’s population and the need for increased efforts to increase the awareness of the crisis's impacts on health, education, productivity, and livelihood.
The key note presentation was delivered by Live & Learn International, a not for profit that aims to improve sanitation and hygiene conditions for people living in informal urban settlements in the Pacific. The presenters Hilda Tango and Sophia Suia shared their experiences and presented a case study of an urban community school in the Solomon Islands that is facing many water, sanitation and hygiene challenges. The case study highlighted the different roles of the government, UN organisations, non-government organisations (NGOs) and local actors in promoting effective sanitation and hygiene for school children, including exploring the specific challenges facing girls in schools.
Following the presentations, participants were split into groups to complete an interactive workshop. The groups were given a case study and completed a bottleneck analysis, a tool used to identify challenges and factors limiting a community’s access to WASH. The groups brainstormed potential opportunities and solutions for the bottlenecks, and then presented their findings back to the larger group.
The night was a great networking opportunity and allowed participants to consider the impact they can have on the wider world through harnessing their engineering skills and empowering communities.
A big thank you goes to the event sponsors Evoqua Water Technologies and Beca for their support.