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Bulgaria: Teachers trained on developing Water Safety Plans

WECF trained teachers of 5 bulgarian schools on developing Water Safety Plans for small-scale supplies with the involvement of youth. The trainings took place on October 4,5 and 7,8

20.10.2011 |Friedemann Klimek

The aim of the Water Safety Plan project in Bulgaria is to rise awareness for the necessity of environmental protection – especially the importance of (drinking) water safety and quality. Local youth together with their teachers will develop WSP suggested by the WHO for the local small water supply systems.

Within this task they will analyse their drinking water, assess the water supply system and elaborate a concept to improve it. The local water suppliers, different authorities, experts as well as community members will be involved in the process, too. The project lasts from August 2011 to October 2012 and is funded by Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt. For the development of the local WSP educational and working material will be worked out and provided to the teachers.

Five schools participate in this project. Two of them are situated in the smaller communities of Kaloyanovets and Hrishteni close to Stara Zagora. A further three are in Pravets, Vidrare und Razliv, communities around 70 km northeast of Sofia. Two teachers per school will conduct the theoretical lessons and the practical part with excursions, surveys and water related experiments and tests. From the very beginning the two WECF partnerorganisations in Bulgaria Eco World (with Bistra Mihaylova, Sofia) and Earth for Ever (with Diana Iskreva, Stara Zagora) are fully integrated in the project. They will support the pupils and teachers in the ongoing project.

The training
First of all background informations and educational materials have been developed by WECF and its partnerorganisations. They comprise articles on WSP, small-scale water supply systems and educational modules for the next few month. These educational modules focus on water and water supply related issues and are intended to lead the pupils to a better understanding of these topics. For example units on water properties, water cycle and last but not least a detailed one for testing water quality. As the project goes on, further units will be developed e.g. on water consumption, hygiene, water treatment, health risks, water quality and legal framework etc.
Beside of these theoretical aspects the practical activities are the main focus for the work with the children and youth. They provide the basis for the pupils to enjoy shaping their environment and to pass on their knowledge about water and water supply to their relatives and local community. They will gain a clear understanding of their water supply by doing excursions to and monitoring of  water catchment areas, springs, surface waters and wells, surveys, inviting experts from the authorities and water suppliers and doing long term tests on water quality.

Margriet Samwel introduced the above mentioned materials to teachers at each of the both regions in the first week of October. The teachers could get an overview of the overall project and work with the educational materials and water tests. The project will benefit from the great commitment of the teachers. They designed a draft for the upcoming lessons on certain time scale. The hand over of the educational materials and testing equipment by the local NGOs (Earth for Ever and Eco World) allows an immediately start of the project at the schools.

Beside that contacts to the local water suppliers and authorities could be established. They will provide the pupils and teachers with information on the water supply network and results of costlier water test. All involved groups are glad about the successful start and are keen on working out more details and finding results.
All activities take place extracurricular and show the extraordinary commitment of pupils and teachers.

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