Wara Bilong Life, 2009
When Kiwi kids line up at the washbasin, they don't think about whether there will be enough water to wash your hands. In the remote highland schools of Papua New Guinea, it is a very different story. With very few water supply facilities, water remains a precious commodity.
The Wara Bilong Life (pidgin for Water for Survival) Oxfam schools project provided a creative and interactive classroom activity that linked primary schools across the world. Seventeen schools and about 1,300 students took part from Auckland to Central Otago in New Zealand, Igwamiti Primary School in central Kenya and Korobosea International School in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.
The students, from year 1 to 10, were asked to assist with school health education for their peers in the highlands of Papua New Guinea. A method of washing hands that required very little water was also needed. Before students could learn about water and sanitation issues affecting their peers in Papua New Guinea, they had to research a great deal about life there.
Water Dispensing Prototype
The health education materials and water dispensing prototypes produced by the students reflected their growing understanding. Several classes explored Tok Pisin and translated their educational materials. They researched appropriate plants that could easily be found in Papua New Guinea for the sanitiser recipes and whether various materials would be available to build the prototypes. They also showed understanding of the diseases PNG, NZ and Kenyan children may get by failing to properly wash their hands.
All the work was put on the project website and feedback was given by practising engineers and a plant scientist. The groups were very excited to see their work on the Internet and to read the feedback.
At the end of the project the Kenyan principal wrote:
"I am happy that we are almost at the end of our project. It has been very wonderful. I hope that we shall still continue collaborating. We need to learn more from each other It's good to hear that you are going to tell many people about our projects. At the beginning of our next school calendar I would like to include more schools, so that they can also get to learn from this project".
The student solutions can be found under 'Solutions' on the project website. -- http://www.megabright.co.nz/WaraBlongLife/home.htm -- or -- http://www.megabright.co.nz/WaraBlongLife/solutions.html
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