Training for teachers on water and sanitation safety planning

On June 5th and 6th, we were part of a workshop organized by Women in Development, Shkodra in Vrakë, Malësi e Madhe, Albania. This activity was held as part of the project “Water and Sanitation Safety Planning in Romania, Albania and FYR Macedonia” funded by the German Ministry of Environment BMU. Our Bistra Mihaylova was the workshop trainer.

The training programme can be found here.

The main goal of the event was to train 14 teachers from 2 secondary schools in the region, as well 4 representatives of the Water Supply and Sewage facility and the local municipality about the Water and Sanitation Safety Planing (WSSP). The topics covered among the training were the following:

  • A brief introduction to the history of the WSSP (WHO WPS guide and WSP Compendium). Reflection of the positive and negative aspects of the local water supply system and sanitation systems, especially school and other public toilets.
  • Presenting the available WSSP guidance materials and WSSP Compendium
  • Compiling a WSSP involving schools and authorities in 10 simple steps
  • Conducting risk assessments with monitoring the water quality through nitrate water testing, sanitary inspections and conducting interviews
  • The stakeholders participated actively in the training and prepared a timetable for the up-coming activities in the project. Teachers from 2 secondary schools in the region, representatives from the local municipality, and the water supply agency were asked to present the positive and negative aspects of the local water supply and sanitation system, as well as to write down problems they are facing on a daily basis, especially in schools.

During the discussion that followed, participants pointed out that although the quality of the water in the area is very good, the water supply system is unreliable in some villages, it is only for about 2-3 hours a day that residents get potable water. The Director of Water Supply and Sewage stated that in spite of the extensive coverage of the pipeline network, the water supply is still limited due to the lack of funding and the declining state of the water plants in the area, which allows a great volume of water to be lost. However, it was noted that positive changes have been made, for instance the pipeline material has been upgraded from asbestos to polyethylene, a non-toxic alternative.

A discussion between the teachers and the Director of Water Supply and Sewage of Males e Madhe brought some new insights on how the municipality will tackle the problem of lack of water in some schools – the plan is to install water tanks where needed.

On the second day of training, all participants used a simple nitrate test to measure the quality of the schools’ drinking water, as well as the water brought from taps and wells which they use at home. Such kind of measurement will be part of the activities to be carried out together with the children as of September 2018 on and presented in front of the local authorities. A short presentation showing the results of the water overall assessment in the region and the following WSSP activities was presented. Lastly, after this final exchange of information and viewpoints, participants presented the common actions they intend to take together with the children and the local communities.

The training increased participants’ knowledge on the Water and Sanitation Safety Plans, its role and how to carry out the activities which will follow until the end of the project.