Training of Trainers: Introducing WSSP to Serbian teachers in Aleksandrovac

By Bistra Mihaylova & Verena Demmelbauer | June 4 – 5, 2021

The step-by step approach to Water and Sanitation Safety Planning (WSSP) has now been successfully introduced in Serbia!

We translated all three A, B and C parts of our Water and Sanitation Safety Planning Compendium into Serbian and brought it to the municipality of Aleksandrovac to share with different teachers. With the great support of our Serbian project partners EASD (Environmental Ambassadors for Sustainable Development Serbia), we pointed out the possibilities of risk reduction in the water and sanitation sector in Serbian rural communities and schools.

The two-days Training of Trainers was conducted by our WASH expert Bistra Mihaylova and by Aleksandra Mladenović from EASD. Teachers were taught basics of WSSP, including the 10 steps to creating a risk management plan, as well as methods for determining water quality.

Group work on analyzing the water problems in the region
and giving suggestions for relevant project activities

Working in groups, the teachers showed us what activities have been done with students in the region, what problems regarding water supply and sanitation the communities are facing, and what can be done at the municipal level together with different regional and national actors at the beginning of the new school year.

Testing the Nitrate concentration of springs and wells water samples

Also, the issue of menstrual health management (MHM) was raised, as the topic is still a taboo in the Balkan region, resulting in a lack of MHM education.

Our North Macedonian project partners Journalists for Human Rights (JHR) also supported the Training of Trainers by sharing their long-term experiences in WSSP and MHM. Natasa Dokovska and Aleksandra Radevska, both from JHR, showed us facts and figures of their research on MHM in North Macedonia: almost 30% of women in this country can hardly afford menstrual products; almost 80% of girls know about the menstrual cycle from friends or older sisters and not from their parents or teachers. Due to the lack of adequate sanitation facilities in rural schools, girls often feel forced to stay home during menstruation and miss classes as a result.

Such data is often lacking for Serbia. Now it is up to us to continue and expand our activities in the WSSP and MHM area both in Serbia and in the wider Balkan region!