Social health workers acquire new skills for community WASH engagement

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BY LYNTON AARON FILIA

TWENTY-FOUR social health workers from the Ministry of Health and NGOs are now equipped with facilitation skills after successfully completing a training on community WASH engagement last week.

From June 11—20, the Environmental Health Division of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services conducted a training course on facilitation skills for community WASH engagement.

The training workshop ended with 24 participants ready to implement new skills on facilitation at their respective workplace after undergone series of training.

The training course was held at the Short Workshop in Mission (SWIM) training centre at Henderson; it convened participants from the Environmental Health Division and Health Promotion Division from all provinces and NGO community workers.

Such training package was organised by the Environmental Health Division of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services with funding support from the European Union.

The course was aimed to train community facilitators in the skills to implement the new Community Engagement approach to rural water, sanitation and hygiene.

The approach involves participatory workshops for communities before and after construction of water systems to involve them in planning and making decisions on their water systems.

Trainees also learned how to use a manual to guide their work in running the workshops.

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During the course trainees developed new skills in running community workshops example, how to help the community form a strong WASH Committee, including an equal number of men and women.

Trainees also contribute to designing the water system (siting of tap stands) and protecting the environment and establish a system for regular maintenance of the water system.

Throughout the training, participants develop a system for raising funds to pay for spare parts and repairs and develop new hygiene practices – washing hands with soap, covering water and food, etc.

During the second week participants worked in teams, went to three different villages in Guadalcanal Province —Gilutae, Ngalimera, and Valeato – where they tried out these skills in running practice workshops.

The three villages are currently being supported in water system development by the Rural Development Programme (RDP) who assisted with these workshops.

The three village workshops were well attended with an estimation of 25 participants at each workshop.

Respond from the villagers, they said the topics were well received and villagers expressed strong appreciation for such new learning.

Trainers for the two-week course are, from the Environmental Health Division staff Jennimer Ngoli, Methoda Ifuimae, Paul Muller, Margaret Toata, and Marcel Gapu.

Representative from the Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) is Mr Robert Zutu from ADRA trainer and Community Engagement advisor Ross Kidd.

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