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TitleStudent-led hygiene promotion and empowerment in rural schools in the Western Pacific (a photo story) : school focus in Fiji, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands
Publication TypeMiscellaneous
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsNielsen, C
PaginationP. 71-74; 1 map; 8 photographs
Date Published2010-10-01
Keywordseducation, fiji, health education, hygiene, personal hygiene, schools, solomon islands, vanuatu

Live and Learn Environmental Education (Live and Learn) is locally registered as a non-government organisation in Fiji, Vanuatu, and the Solomon Islands. For the past eleven years, hygiene promotion has been a key focus of our work and during this time we have developed an extensive ‘Sustainable Schools Network’ through which 700 schools are participating. The most important aspect of our work is creating a learning process that promotes a shift in hygiene promotion from ‘transferring messages and information’ to ‘creating new knowledge, attitudes and practices through participation and thinking’. Live and Learn promotes an integrated approach to hygiene promotion where students see hygiene and health as totally interlinked with other issues in the community. The photo story describes this approach, starting with a Rapid Assessment of Perception (RAP). The RAP is a participatory research tool that seeks an understanding of how students perceive hygiene in their own village. Findings from the RAP help to inform education content and the approach, and allows students to lead hygiene change. Using the information from the RAP, Live and Learn allows students to lead schools-based hygiene projects. Live and Learn’s approach challenges conventional learning where children commit information to memory so thoroughly that they can recall facts almost instantly when given the right stimulus cue (like an exam), whether or not they understand them, or can process, apply or extend them. Learning by doing strengthens confidence and empowers. The purpose of hygiene education is to strengthen knowledge, attitude and practices, and develop young people’s capacity to give them confidence to extend and apply their knowledge. [authors abstract]

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