WASH from the START Initiative Exactly what is it?

Highlights from 2014 OMEP World Assembly, Cork Ireland, July 2014
WASH from the START*
WAter, Sanitation
& Hygiene
in Early Childhood Settings
Judith T. Wagner, Ph.D.
Deputy President, World OMEP
Professor of Child Development and Education
Whittier College, Whittier CA
*An OMEP Initiative with UNICEF since 2011
Preview of Coming Attractions:
• What’s OMEP?
• What’s WASH from the Start?
• Rationale for WASH from the Start
• Progress to date – some examples
• Summary of 2014 OMEP World Assembly:
Next Steps for WASH from the Start
What is OMEP?
Organisation Mondiale pour L´Éducation Préscolaire
Organización Mundial para La Educación Preescolar
World Organization For Early Childhood Education
Founded in 1948 the wake of WWII: Peace-building from cradle up
Consultative status with UNESCO and the UN (NGO #11)
Now oldest and largest international organization dedicated to the
wellbeing, health, rights, and education of young children, their
families, and the institutions that serve them.
National Committees and members in more than 70 countries!
“After research on the
internet and
with my parents,
teachers, and elders
in the village,
I realised we could
clean our school water
Rosslyne Waiyigo Kiragu
2010 OMEP ESD Grant Winner
WASH from the START Initiative
Exactly what is it?
Anything and everything we can do
-- individually and collectively -to improve young children’s access to
water, sanitation, and hygiene.
Why focus on WASH in the early years?
The Problem
1. A child dies from a water-related cause every 21 seconds!
That’s 6,000 children every day!
2. Infants and young children, especially girls, are
disproportionately affected.
3. Water-borne illnesses: second leading cause of death
for children under five.
Lack of clean water and sanitation
Women and girls
walk hours a day
to fetch water -often unclean.
Source BBC News:
From Problems to Possibilities:
WASH before School-entry Age
Attitudes, behaviors, and automatized habits form during first
years. May be resistant to change later.
Basic practices for handwashing and toileting will already be
established and, hopefully, coupled with one another
Children will arrive at primary school
ready to contribute
better able to learn
 Improved outcomes for WinS, School
Sanitation and Hygiene Education (SSHE), and EFA
Wash from the Start: HOW?
Adapt WASH in Schools (WinS) materials for use with
younger children in preschool, home, and community
Create new age-appropriate materials and activities
Incorporate WASH into our work with children, parents,
and teachers.
Document participation in Global Handwashing Day
(October 15) and other WASH activities
Create WASH partnerships: preschool to preschool/
Primary school to preschool.
Why focus on adapting WinS?
WASH in Schools (WinS) has so much well
documented success.
Let’s build upon it.
WASH is so successful
with older children.
What will happen if WASH from the START
becomes part of all young children’s experience
before they reach school-entry age!
WASH from the START
Three-year WASH program:
“Wiślana kropelka” (A Vistula Drop) Kindergarten No. 41
Preschool Partnership
Global Handwashing Day
Beach Party in Benin
Goals and Commitments:
2014 OMEP World Assembly
• Include WASH from the Start in letters to national
leaders urging early childhood as a priority in the
post-2015 agenda
• Global Handwashing Day in all 70 countries. Send
photos to national websites and World OMEP
• Add WASH activities to the preschool curriculum
throughout the year
• Incorporate WASH into teacher-education curricula
• Continue to seek funding for pilot projects and
Thank you !
Judith T. Wagner, Ph.D.
Deputy President, World OMEP
Vice President, North American and Caribbean