Blue Schools – Linking WASH in schools with environmental education and practice
A Blue School offers a healthy learning environment and exposes students to environmentally-friendly technologies and practices that can be replicated in their communities. Blue School activities seek to inspire students as the next generation of WASH and environment sector champions—a promising path to contribute to achieving SDG 6 targets as well as related SDGs.
Developed by Caritas Switzerland, Eawag-Sandec, HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation and Terre des hommes, the Blue School Concept 2.0 is based on the pioneering work of the International Rainwater Harvesting Alliance and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation since 2007, as well as projects of the Swiss Water and Sanitation Consortium.
The Blue School Kit guides education authorities, school stakeholders and civil society organizations to work with upper primary and secondary school students to transform a school into a Blue School. Once the basic WASH requirements are fulfilled in a school, the pathway integrates learning experiences on small-scale sustainable gardening, good land and water management practices, solid waste collection/separation and gender.
What is a Blue School?
A Blue School goes beyond activities related to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH). It promotes a school garden as a practical place to demonstrate the relationship between food production and an efficient management of water; as well as a demonstrative place for watershed and land management practices.
A Blue School offers a healthy learning environment and exposes students to environmentally-friendly technologies and practices that can be replicated in their communities. It inspires students to be change agents in their communities and builds the next generation of WASH and environment sector champions.
Blue School materials
Since 2011, different members of the Swiss Water & Sanitation Consortium (SWSC) have piloted and implemented the Blue School concept in more than 200 schools in Bangladesh, Benin, Ethiopia, Madagascar, and Nepal with support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). Based on the experiences, the Blue School concept was reviewed and supporting materials (table below) developed.
The Blue School materials provide concrete support and ideas to project staff, education authorities and school stakeholders on how to transform a school into a Blue School. The education material in the Facilitator’s Guide and Catalogue of Practical Exercises target students in upper primary school and/or secondary school, but the concept as such can be implemented with any age group.
1. CONCEPT BRIEF: It defines a Blue School and provides a road map on how best to engage government institutions, build ownership of the school stakeholders and ensure sustainability; Target audience: Any interested parties
2. CATALOGUE OF TECHNOLOGIES: It provides references to low costs technologies that can be implemented in a schoolyard or its surroundings with particular focus on sustainable land and water management, gardening and solid waste management; Target audience: Project staff, education authorities and school stakeholders
3. FACILITATOR’S GUIDE – for teachers and training of trainers: It provides a visual support to introduce or strengthen extra-curricular topics—including overlooked topics such as gender, menstrual hygiene management and transformation of solid waste into resources. It suggests learning objectives and refers to the Catalogue of Practical Exercises for inspiration; Target audience: Teachers and training of trainers
4. CATALOGUE OF PRACTICAL EXERCISES: It provides ideas to introduce the eight topics with hands-on exercises that complement the theoretical lessons and use simple materials at little to no cost; Target audience: Teachers and training of trainers