Game Based Learning - WASH behaviour from Kenya

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Logo Sanergy

Country: Kenya

Kenya: Changing WASH behaviours through game based learning

Basic data:

WASH United joined forces with hardware provider Sanergy Inc. for a hygiene promotion project at 15 schools of Nairobi’s informal settlement Mukuru in 2013 and early 2014. To make an sustainable impact, the provision of sanitation facilities was followed up with a program of game based learning to influence WASH behaviour. The project and the experiences:

An effective game is not only fun and easy to understand, but also able to transfer its core message. Educational games enable people to generate their own insights and positive attitudes, which ultimately result in motivation to act. In addition, playing games together is affirming a sense of solidarity within the group and is very rewarding.

Building sanitation facilities in schools needs to go along with behaviour change interventions to assure proper use and ultimately to achieve sustainable impact. With this in mind, WASH United joined forces with hardware provider Sanergy Inc. for a hygiene promotion project at 15 schools of Nairobi’s informal settlement Mukuru in 2013 and early 2014. Sanergy builds and franchises “Fresh Life Toilets” with handwashing facilities to local residents, who run the toilets as small businesses and operate the facilities. Fresh Life Toilets follow the principle of urine diversion without water, so urine and faeces are stored in separate, exchangeable cartridges. On a daily basis, Sanergy collects the excreta from each toilet and converts it into useful by-products such as organic fertilizer and renewable energy. The fertilizer is then sold to several Kenyan farms.

Prior to the project start, only 1 out of 5 students practiced proper handwashing. To encourage good hygiene practices and to teach the correct use of Sanergy’s Fresh Life toilets, WASH United uses an innovative game-based curriculum that engages children in an interactive way to generate their own insights about the problems surrounding poor WASH.

One of WASH United’s signature games is World Toilet Cup (WTC), a football-based educational game for groups. The WTC addresses the benefits and the appropriate use of toilets and sanitary facilities. The players discuss and answer questions about sanitation/toilets and aim to shoot a brown ball (symbolising poo) in the two holes of the WTC wall (symbolising toilets). Together, they can score for a healthier, cleaner world.

30 teachers were trained to construct tippy taps and how to facilitate a set of games about water borne diseases, its source, modes of transmission, prevention, and very specifically on the proper use and maintenance of Fresh Life toilets, as well as correct handwashing with soap after the use of Fresh Life toilets. The trained teachers then reached a total of 2,739 students. After the trainings, the number of students, who started washing their hands increased to 2 out of 3 (60%). To ensure sustainability, resident teachers can independently implement continuous activities, for example play the WTC with their students. Sanergy stays in touch with each school for daily waste disposal and therefore correct maintenance and sustainability of the facilities is ensured.

For the initial project, WASH United provided the ‘software’ (behaviour-change trainings) and Sanergy the ‘hardware’ (toilets) part. After the project, Sanergy has started to build its own team to implement the software component. WASH United is currently training Sanergy staff to become hygiene trainers themselves.

The key lessons of the story:

WASH United is an international non-profit organisation that pioneers the use of fun, educational games, sport star ambassadors and strictly positive messages to increase the relevance of sanitation and hygiene and to facilitate behaviour change. WASH United designs and implements awareness raising campaigns and WASH in Schools programmes in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. WASH United believes that children are key agents of change. As children spend most of their time at school, this is the best place to learn good WASH behaviour.

Sustainability Criteria

Health and Hygiene: all toilets are equipped with hand washing facilities and the handwashing practice could be increased among the students.

Environment and natural resources: the toilet products are collected separately and safely used in agriculture.

Socio-cultural and institutional aspects: software and hardware parts complement each other through a cooperative approach between NGO and business.

Project details

Type of project: Hygiene Promotion Project

Project period: 2013-2014

Start of operation: 2014

Project scale: 15 schools

WASH United develops cutting-edge solutions in the fields of WASH advocacy and campaigns, behaviour change communication and the human rights to water and sanitation, and partners with strong organisations that can implement at scale. With their trade-mark play-based approach they helped train more than 200,000 children in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia in good WASH behaviours (including menstrual hygiene management).

Sanergy Inc. builds healthy, prosperous communities by making hygienic sanitation affordable and accessible throughout Africa's informal settlements. They offer the provision of the whole sanitation chain from the design and manufacture low-cost, high-quality sanitation facilities to converting and selling fertilizers.


Logo WASH United

Ina Jurga

WASH United

Denise Reck

WASH United