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EWA Kyrgyzstan: Empowering women to mobilise their communities for safe water and sanitation planning

With the support of local partner CAAW and Mehr-Shavkat, WECF conducted a 2-day training session for representatives of communities, schools, drinking water committees (CDWUUs) and NGOs on developing Water and Sanitation Safety Plans (WSSP) for small communities, in the Kyrgyz city of Osh

08.04.2014 |Margriet Samwel & Claudia Wendland

Participants develop a step-by-step program to create a water and sanitation safety plan for their community

For this WSSP, various stakeholders were invited to increase their knowledge on water and sanitation safety, and on identifying possible risks in their water and sanitation systems and taking measures to eliminate these identified risks.

These stakeholders included training representatives from rural schools, the village council, the rayon epidemiological center of Alai, Uzgen, Aravan, Osh oblast, CDWUUs and NGOs from Issyk-Kul oblast and Bishkek city. 18 people participated in the training session altogether, and it  lasted two days.

At the start of the training session, participants shared their experiences of, and concerns about, the situation in their respective villages and schools. Representatives of the region Uzgen mentioned high groundwater tables and flooding, which results in extremely unsafe sanitary conditions (pit latrines, for example). Several participants reported that villagers and pupils used water from irrigation channels as drinking water, resulting in a high incidence of diarrhea, and diseases such as hepatitis. A lack of safe water and sanitation was a common concern in all represented regions.

Measuring the turbidity of a water sample
Margriet Samwel, senior water expert at WECF, provided information about the steps to be taken in developing and carrying out the WSSP,. This included an explanation of how to use sanitary inspection forms and how to conduct interviews.Practical exercises on performing simple water quality tests, and reporting the results, were also carried out.

Finally, participants developed a two-month-long program for WSSP activities to be conducted in five schools and communities. They planned to establish local WSSP teams, do nitrate tests of the available drinking water sources and raise awareness about the risks of unsafe water. Most teams included sanitation and hygiene in their programs. So that they could realise these programs, participants were provided withbackground information on the WSSPs, some relevant documents , and nitrate tests.

This two-month program, coordinated by the trainees, will be implemented until June and form the basis for further WSSP and community mobilisation activities in Kyrgyzstan, which will start with the new school year in September 2014.

Results of drinking water tests are reported
For background information, please see the WSP Compendium

Contact information:
Margriet Samwel, WECF senior advisor water and food safety,
Claudia Wendland, WECF coordinator for Kyrgyzstan,

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