Students use creativity to advocate for improved WASH

Live and Learn | Michelle Abel from Live and Learn, on 11/12/2017 13:18 AEST

Live & Learn has published two guidebooks for student-led advocacy campaigns to make sure everyone in their school has access to safe drinking water, safe toilets and is practicing good hygiene behaviour. The guidebooks are called “Arts for Advocacy” and Live & Learn has published a Student Guidebook and a Teacher Guidebook.

Student WASH Clubs and their mentor teachers in schools partnering with Live & Learn in Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Fiji are now piloting these guidebooks to plan and implement WASH advocacy campaigns. The activities in the Arts for Advocacy guidebooks focus on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), but the advocacy planning process the students learn gives them confidence to use new skills to advocate for positive change in many other areas too. Why is the word ‘Art’ in the title? This is because art such as painting, photography, video, drama, music, stories and dance are powerful tools to inspire people to change their thinking and actions.

In Vanuatu the two guidebooks were presented to a forum of Curriculum Development officers, and in Fiji teachers and students were introduced to the Arts for Advocacy process through a weekend camp that featured a guest artist. The Arts for Advocacy guidebook also uses clear illustrations and examples to introduce students and teachers to tools used in complex systems thinking, and how to plan advocacy activities in complex environments that target specific audiences and specific types of change. Teachers have expressed how these ideas are helping them think about how they teach other subjects also.

Teachers from Live & Learn partner schools in Kavieng, New Ireland Province, PNG, were happy to complete an inservice program on setting up student-led Water, Sanitation & Hygiene (WASH) Clubs. Students have used their new skills to make creative displays for Global Hand-washing Day events conducted in their communities.

During the next 12 months Live & Learn will get feedback from the students and teachers piloting the Arts for Advocacy Guidebooks, and incorporate any suggested improvements. The Arts for Advocacy Student and Teacher Guidebooks is available for download from the Arts for Advocacy website The website will evolve to share news and learning from the testing of the guidebooks until the completion of the WPSIP in June 2018.