'A Child is also a Teacher': Exploring the Potential for Children as Change Agents in the Context of a School-based WASH Intervention in Rural Eastern Zambia Open Access

Bresee, Sara (2014)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/tt44pn188?locale=en


Background: School-based water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) interventions have been shown to ameliorate health and increase school attendance for children. Community engagement is a key aspect to the sustainability of school-based WASH interventions. Though it can be challenging to motivate communities to adopt WASH behaviors and technologies, schoolchildren have previously been shown to influence community change. This is especially pertinent in rural settings where other techniques to engage communities might not be as effective. To our knowledge, there have not been any studies exploring children as change agents in the context of a school-based WASH intervention. The following study sought to explore the potential for children to be change agents for WASH in Zambia.

Methods: We employed qualitative methods to explore the perspectives of teachers, pupils and their female guardians on WASH behaviors and the capacity for children to be able to influence their families on WASH. We visited 5 schools and conducted 20 focus group discussions with pupils using participatory learning activities, 5 focus group discussions with their female guardians and 5 key informant interviews with teachers over the course of six weeks between June and August 2013.

Results: Results from this study were organized into four major themes: WASH behaviors and motivators, parental receptiveness, child agency and teacher influence. Female guardians displayed receptivity towards receiving WASH information from their children. Teachers were shown to engage children on the promotion of WASH behaviors and technology at home. Pupils in the school-based WASH intervention area demonstrated the capability to communicate WASH knowledge and behaviors to family members. Pupils reported conducting safe WASH behaviors in the school and a desire to practice safe WASH at home.

Conclusions: The findings show there is a high potential for children to serve as agents of change for WASH in the context of a school-based WASH intervention. The study showed that pupils would utilize techniques like altering their environment, reminding their family regularly and communicating using their homework to influence change at the home level. Families also were shown to be receptive due to previous exposure to WASH and an existing desire to change.

Table of Contents

Chapter I 1
1. Introduction 1
Chapter II 5
2. Literature Review 5
2.1 Water, Sanitation and Hygiene 5
2.2 School based WASH programs 6
2.3 WASH in Zambia 7
2.4 Communication in Zambia 8
2.5 Children as change agents 9
2.6 Child to Community Methodology 10
Chapter III: 12
3. Methods 12
3.1 Background 12
3.2 Study Setting 13
3.3 Study Design 15
3.4 School Selection 20
3.5 Data Collection and Management 21
Chapter IV 24
4. Results 24
4.1 Demographics 24
4.2 Themes 26
Chapter V 48
5. Discussion 48
5.1 Primary Question 48
5.1.1 Secondary Question 1 50
5.1.2 Secondary Question 2 52
5.1.3 Secondary Question 3 53
5.1.4 Secondary Question 4 54
5.2 Diffusion of Innovations 55
5.3 Strengths 55
5.4 Limitations 57
5.5 Recommendations 58
5.6 Public Health Implications 60
5.7 Conclusions 61
References 62
Appendices 68
Appendix A. Focus Group Discussion Guides for Pupils (Phase 1) 68
Appendix B. Focus Group Discussion Guide for Pupils (Phase 2) 73
Appendix C. At Home Assignments 77
Appendix D. Key Informant Interview Guide for Teachers 79
Appendix E. Focus Group Discussion with Parents 81
Appendix F. Demographic Collection Tools 85
Appendix G. IRB Approvals 87
Appendix H. Informed consent forms 93
Appendix I. Examples of Drawings from Pupils during FGD Phase 1 102

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