Training for Students: How to carry out relevant water and sanitation activities in rural and peri-urban communities

By Bistra Mihaylova

Environmental Ambassadors for Sustainable Development (EASD) conducted a training on water and sanitation for 19 students from different classes at the Secondary School in Aleksandrovac, Serbia. The training was held in October and gave the possibility for four teachers – who had been already trained on the topic in June 2021 by WECF and EASD – to expand their professional skills and knowledge related to water and sanitation and share it with their students. The activity is part of the project ‎“Water and Sanitation Safety Planning (WSSP) in Romania, Albania, North Macedonia and Serbia”‎, funded by the Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU). 

Consultation with the teachers took place beforehand so that they could actively participate in the practical work with the students. The first theoretical part of the training covered the meaning of the key concepts of water security, drinking water supply, wastewater treatment and disposal, etc. The second part consisted of discussions and practical activities in the context of mapping the local community, pointing out the relevant water sources used by the citizens. The participants were divided into four working groups: upper Župa region, lower Župa region, city center and surroundings of the city center. During the mapping activity, a discussion was initiated about the current situation and water availability in the municipality from the students’ point of view.

Several outcomes emerged from the training:

  • The students live in different parts of the Aleksandrovac Municipality and now know in detail the situation of water supply and sanitation in the region. They also expressed their interest in expanding their knowledge about the current situation in a larger area, e.g. the construction of the Morava corridor, which affects the Morava river basin, etc.
  • During the training, the development of a plan for water safety and sanitation was started. One student agreed to lead the water group and two teachers will act as mentors.
  • According to the students, the lack of sewage treatment is the main problem in this community. A sewage treatment plant should be built in the village of Novaci. However, the construction has not started yet because there are some administrative problems. As a practical exercise, the students measured the water quality of several local water bodies for nitrate contamination and pH levels.

Next step among the project activities in the school will be organising the first official meeting of the school water group to discuss continuation of development of the Plan for Water Safety and Sanitation for Aleksandrovac municipality.

The teachers who were trained in June supported EASD in the Training for Students