During the week of April 16, the PWW WASH Training team (WASH = water, sanitation and hygiene) in Haiti provided educational training and support to high school students at the Union School in Haiti. The school is located in Juvénat, a suburb of Port-au-Prince.
The Union School was initially established in 1919 for the children of U.S. Marine Corps stationed in Haiti. The school has evolved through the years and continues today with a mission to “inspire a culture of lifelong learning that encourages academic excellence, civic mindedness, and personal integrity.” The Union School strives to provide the best American-style, college prep education to students in grades Pre-K through 12 and is considered one of the most prestigious schools in Haiti for pre-collegiate education.
The purpose of PWW’s engagement with the Union School was to provide educational enhancement to students in the 10th grade Honors Biology class. The Biology class was studying a unit about Microbiology. The PWW WASH training team joined the class to teach theory, test water samples, and provide an analysis for the water samples collected and tested.
- The first day together consisted mainly of theory and the different types of pathogens that are found in water, including the details about how they can make a person sick.
- The second day was instruction and hands-on water testing. Working in the school lab, students ran four tests each: one for Presence/Absence, 2 tests for Most Probable Number, and one for Membrane Filtration.
- The third and final day together was analysis and interpretation of the test results.
“We had just about an hour to run the lessons, so they were relatively quick, yet informative,” shared Andrew Coco, PWW Haiti WASH Training and Consulting Services Manager. “While it would have been great to have more time with the students, they did learn and grow so much in the short time that we had together.”
The school’s professor has already let the team know that they would like PWW to come to the school again next year, as well as integrate a visit to the PWW office and filter factory.
The project was in conjunction with the school’s Earth Day Celebration, which was celebrated on Friday, April 20th. For the celebration, two members of the PWW WASH training team participated.
The presentation of learning happened in three different sessions.
- The Physics class made water filters (sand, gravel, charcoal, etc) and a micro-water distillation system. They were very knowledgeable and creative when it came to designing their systems, and they clearly put a great deal of work into their final presentations.
- The Biology students presented the work they completed, with the help of PWW, earlier in the week. The students made colorful, detailed posters, which explained the testing methods, including advantages/disadvantages, applications, and other facts that they had learned.
- After both of these classes presented, the PWW team shared information about the bio-sand water filter, similar to what the students had designed, and also displayed and explained the other Household Water Treatment technologies in Haiti. PWW had examples, showed videos, displayed the mobile water testing lab, and provided educational posters and handouts.
The students and teachers had a lot of great questions. Some of the students showed strong interest in furthering their knowledge and understanding of this topic. At the end of the presentation, the staff, students, and administration of the Union School extended gratitude and appreciation to the PWW team for its participation in their Earth Day Event.
The PWW team looks very forward to continuing to expand our relationship and collective learning with the students and faculty of the Union School. And, we look forward to what these incredible students will do to create a better future for Haiti and our planet!