To celebrate World Water Day 2018, Lesotho Red Cross Society (LRCS), brought together students who have been trained in Children’s Hygiene And Sanitation Training (CHAST) and are hygiene club leaders in their respective schools and their teachers from three primary schools from Mohale’s Hoek District on 22 March. Government and local leaders also participated.
LRCS, funded by CS-WASH, is working in communities facing economic and climate vulnerability in two rural districts to deliver WASH Promotion Interventions for Rural Communities. This project integrates: building latrines and water systems for communities and schools; and training and awareness building to promote and sustain improved hygiene, sanitation and environmental practices.
The theme for the World Water Day’s 2018 is “Nature for Water”. The day’s major focus was to look at factors that endanger the availability and accessibility of safe drinkable water and explore nature-based solutions to the water challenges faced in their day-to-day lives.
The pupils heard about the history of World Water Day and learned how nature-based solutions have the potential to solve many of the water challenges faced around the world today, in particular how planting new forests, reconnecting rivers to floodplains, and restoring wetlands will rebalance the water cycle and improve human health and livelihoods.
Each school then went on to give a presentation that reflected the day’s theme, looking at the nature-based challenges they face in accessing clean and fresh water and possible solutions to these challenges.
The presentations were varied. One pupil shared a poem that highlighted the importance of maintaining a clean environment in obtaining drinkable water. Another school presented a play about a lack of water that had been caused by animals destroying the unprotected well and the chief calling a public gathering to make the whole community aware that they should stop allowing animals next to their water source and practice rotational grazing.
The play was very much in context as the village’s Chief had previously explained the challenges his village faced before the introduction of the project: “Before Red Cross introduced the WASH project to us, we had no knowledge about hygiene. Our wells in the village were unprotected and we relied mostly on open defecation. Through WASH project the whole community was sensitised and are now hygiene conscious. I plea to everyone here to continue with good hygiene practices because we’ve all witnessed the benefits. and we’ve been taught that environmental hygiene directly affects the quality of water we use daily’’
The day was closed by a representative from Department of Rural Water Systems who thanked LRCS for supporting the government in motivating change and providing WASH services to the most vulnerable communities in Mohale’s Hoek district.