Washing Hands
March 8 2016

Our Basic Life Skills Course in Livingstone operates at both Maunga Primary School and Natebe Community School.  Neither school has hand-washing facilities available for children after they have used the toilets, so recent our Kids Club sessions were devoted to creating simple washing facilities. 

The aim, aside from the health benefits of the project, was to give the children an opportunity to practice their team work, innovation, creativity and self-reliance skills; all part of the Basic Life Skills Course.

The children were first provided with a small scale model and then asked to consider what they needed to make a full scale version. 

When the demonstration was finished, the children were divided into three groups; one remained in the school to dig some holes in which the structure would sit, whilst the other two groups went into the nearby woodland to collect fallen branches, and natural fibres to bind the wood.  

Once all the necessary resources had been gathered, building work started.  The children were supervised throughout the process by project staff and volunteers, but were encouraged to undertake as much of the work as possible; working as a team to get the job done.  When the structures were ready, water was collected.  

Once it was finished, children and teachers lined up to try out their hand-washing station.  The children expressed their gratitude for the new facility and for being able to participate in the activity.  The teachers also thanked the project team for a great idea and their enthusiasm for helping the school. 

All that was left was to place a sign on the structure that the children had made.

At the end of the session, the children were asked how they had benefited from the activity as individuals.  Those who spoke up explained that the activity had taught them the skill of being self-reliant; they hadn't relied on their teachers, but had been able to do something to help themselves out, which they could then create in their own homes.  

About Kids Club

Kids Club is our opportunity to implement our Basic Life Skills Course.  The aim of the course is to assist children and adolescents to gain essential skills needed to operate effectively in society in an active and constructive way.  Topics in the course include; self-esteem, coping with stress, effective communication, decision making, problem solving and non-violent conflict resolution.  The course has been developed by David Brackstone of John Taylor High School, UK using a programme in use at that school and adapted for use in our schools in Africa.

About ALERT Education Centres (AEC)

Basic Life Skills courses are one aspect of the work of our ALERT Education Centres.  The AEC operations at Livingstone (Zambia), Victoria Falls and Antelope Park (Zimbabwe) are all aimed at supporting the formal education system by offering extra-curricular activities to enhance student learning, and assisting with access to education for vulnerable students.  Current programs include the provision of classes in conservation education, basic life skills, and English literacy.  In addition, we provide funding to pay the fees of vulnerable students to take part in education from pre-school to university level, and fully funded internship and facilitated research placements for university level students.  Future programmes will incorporate classes in numeracy, health & nutrition, physical education and business studies/entrepreneurship, as well as a variety of vocational training.  The AEC is operated in association with Coventry University (UK), Midlands State University (Zimbabwe) and Copperbelt University (Zambia), and with the assistance of David Brackstone of John Taylor High School (UK).   The first AEC, at Antelope Park, was opened in 2012 by the then Zimbabwe Minister of Education, Mr. David Coltart.

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