We humbly solicit the financial and institutional support of all like-minded individuals, corporate organizations, institutions and relevant stakeholders worldwide, in response to a bankable and audacious youth engagement health and wellness project: “Media for Environment, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene” (MeWASH) led by the media service of Beautiful Feet International (MediaBFI), a non-profit organization, in association with the WASH Media Network Nigeria (Edo State chapter), FIC Development Advocacy Through Arts (FICDATA), Horizon International and other implementing partners.
The project’s overall aim is to educate and enlighten the Nigerian public, spread awareness and engage young people in the fight to securing the future of our environment and the health and wellness of all our future leaders, and consequently trigger voluntary attitudinal and behavior changes and actions that gradually lead up to a healthier society.
We are adopting communication and creative education/visual literacy approach to broaden awareness and achieve improved environmental friendliness, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) culture for all Nigerians, especially among young people of school age, through multimedia communication/creative education and health talks/interactive sessions. Our target is to engage at least 10,000 Nigerian schoolchildren and youths in achieving regular hand-washing with soap, personal hygiene and building WASH-friendly schools, within the 1st phase of this project.
Consequently, we are urgently securing a befitting contact/operational office for easier accessibility to our partners and members of the public; we are producing pictorial storytelling health fliers/info-graphics as well as compelling WASH-focused cartoons and comic books plus supplementary power- point presentations/slide shows to be used as communication tools for primary and secondary school children as well as out-of –school youths in flood-prone communities in Nigeria that we plan reaching out to. We are also developing a 2-5 minute captivating cartoon animation video on the importance of hand washing, sanitation and personal hygiene.
Already, in collaboration with one of our implementing partners, Horizon International, we have produced the 1st edition of the "WASH4ALL" comic book series now being downloaded worldwide for free at: http://www.solutions-site.org/node/1452 , and also at: http://www.cartoonafricabiennial.org/component/content/article/77-wash-premier-edition-comic-book-available-for-free-download Also, virtual copies of the MeWASH comics/info-graphics are already being published online at: http://mediabfi.blogspot.com for free download worldwide in the context of health edutainment for all on how to habitually practice environment- friendliness, develop good sanitation culture, and fight malaria and other avoidable diseases.
Moreover, as an integral part of this initiative, we have been gleaning professionally delineated WASH/environment-related cartoons, photo stories, cartoon animations, and web comics from various cartoonists and illustrators across the world that draw attention to environmental protection, water, sanitation and hygiene issues in Africa, through the comedic public education event “Cartoon Africa International Biennial (CAIB) festival” - the 2nd edition of which held in Benin City, Nigeria, in November, 2014. Details at: www.cartoonafricabiennial.com
Every minute, at least one child dies of malaria and or other water-related disease in Sub-Saharan Africa, especially in Nigeria with a demography that reinforces the risks in environment -unfriendly and poor WASH culture. This gruesome reality can be mitigated with greater awareness, information and education that can trigger gradual behavior changes at home and in public places to the mileage of these innocent ones.
As the World Health Organization (WHO) says, “Better management of water resources reduces transmission of malaria and other vector-borne diseases.” This revelation by WHO makes this project not only needed but indispensable: a need for more awareness and education of the public, especially children/youths, the main victims. How we knew this need exists: over time, we made a few searches and researches, and also had some interactions with a few prospective beneficiary schools within the targeted communities in Benin City, Edo State, and in Eziawa autonomous community in Imo State, respectively.Besides, on August 28, 2012, while attending the AMCOW think tank session at the 2012 World Water Week (WWW) conference in Stockholm, Sweden, MediaBFI's Editor-In-Chief, Francis Umendu Odupute, was deeply enthused by the cross-breeding of ideas in favour of Africa’s development under the thematic framework: “FOCUS AFRICA -Water Security: Opportunities for the 21st Century; The 2025 Africa Vision”. The 2012WWW Focus Africa meeting filliped Odupute's decision to initiate possible ways of contributing to the global game-changing efforts in securing Africa of the future, especially in the context of media education and youth engagement actions on achieving sustainable Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH).
One of the core objectives of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals is to achieve global improvements in public health and productivity through aggressive public education on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) culture. Odupute thought of securing ‘Africa of the future’ and decided that if we could , in a local context, assist to positively engage youths to imbibe WASH culture improvement and positive behavior change, we would be making a relevant contribution to securing a productive and healthy future for Africa and the world in general.
Hence, this project will address, among other vital health issues affecting young people in Africa, the importance of preventing malaria, avoiding open-defecation, practicing regular hand-washing, the availability of clean water, imbibing good hygiene habits and more, so as to advance health and wellness among children/youths in Nigeria, as a relevant factor to securing the future of Africa’s most populous nation and the worst hit of WASH-related diseases and deaths.
Our plan of action includes:
- To organize health and wellness talks/seminars for Nigerian schoolchildren and youth groups on the health benefits of habitual hand-washing, sanitation and hygiene practices;
-To assist some schools with hand-washing buckets and soaps for their pupils and students’ use in imbibing WASH@school habits;
- To set up WASH clubs in as many schools as possible, collaborate with school authorities to motivate and follow up the clubs as a strategy for sustainability of any success recorded as well as to properly monitor progress as well as measure impact in the course of the first phase of this project;
-To produce and freely distribute educative and engaging WASH comic books and info-graphics as IEC materials to engage, educate and broaden WASH awareness of schoolchildren in target communities in Nigeria; some of which would be deployed as power-point presentations in schools using projector screens;
-To develop a 5-minute short cartoon animation film on WASH targeting young people, for free distribution via the social media, projector screens, and possibly on community TV broadcasts;
-To organize “Open Cartoon” advocacy exhibitions in schools, youth groups and relevant public spaces to foster dialogue and public education on environment, public health and wellness to engage youths and trigger voluntary “WASH-wise” behavior changes and civic responses/actions (mostly children/youths) that result in sustainable personal and public health improvements in our homes and communities.
-To partner some community electronic/broadcast media with civic engagement talk shows to broaden awareness, better inform the public and increase civic participation in achieving WASH for all - especially children and youths, the leaders of tomorrow.
Project’s Main Target Audience:
Our main audience are boys and girls between 7 and 19 years of age in communities where WASH culture is seen to be relatively very poor, the health implications of which takes its toll on the lives and education of these children; youth groups, parents, schoolteachers, and community-leaders and health care workers are also factored into the project as major stakeholders. The project is aimed at youths because they are the future of the African society, and the main sufferers from negative consequences of malaria and other related diseases ravaging Africa today.
Relationship with Target Audience:
Our engagement with children/teenagers (adolescents) as youth workers and social development advocates dates back to 1998 when the small group BFEC, was set up in Maiduguri, Borno State, northern Nigeria; today we are deeply involved in youth development and engagement in many fronts including literature publications/free distributions, multimedia, visual literacy/communication Arts solutions. Recently, as part of our youth engagement strategy for broadening WASH awareness here in Nigeria, schoolchildren and university students were invited to the 2nd CARTOON AFRICA INTERNATIONAL BIENNIAL (CAIB) festival hosted by the Edo State Ministry of arts, Culture and Tourism on November 27, 2014 in Benin City, where they had fun engaging with various cartoons on WASH and the environment challenge in Africa, especially the pilot edition of WASH4All comics also exhibited at the event.
Some university students like Femi Fafiolu, had theWASH4All comics downloaded into their computers during the course of the CAIB event in November, 2014. From my experiences with the youths, I got the impression that their exposure to the comic was very powerful and deeply engaging. They were talking about the importance of their sanitation and personal hygiene behavior and how good hygiene needs to become a “Habit”. More information about the CAIB event at our website: http://www.cartoonafricabiennial.org
The project is expected kick off in September, 2015. The project will hold in selected rural, suburban and urban schools in Edo State and Imo State, Nigeria, in the 1st phase. The first phase is expected to last for two academic sessions (approx. 22 months). We hope to empower and engage at least 10,000 Nigerian schoolchildren and youths on regular hand-washing and setting up WASH clubs to possibly collaboratively build WASH-friendly schools within the course of our project.
Within first two months of commencement of the project, we hope to set up a Working Group, made up of creative writers, and artists and other volunteers/consultants. The group will meet regularly for creative briefs aimed at researching further on the project, sharing ideas and coming up with relevant and interesting concepts for the info-graphics and good storyline for the cartoon animation story boards. In the third month, we will make advance payments for the cartoon animation video production. Within the fourth and fifth months, the production of printed copies of the health info-graphics will be due and the slides for power-point presentation of WASH4ALL comic book will be made ready and we shall then procure a standard video projector with a projector stand and collapsible white screen. Once the projector and other gadgets are bought, our media team will test-run the power-point slide presentations and preview the cartoon animation video. Correspondence, mobilization/outreach to all stakeholders and supporters will commence.
By the sixth and seventh month, final touches will be put to logistics; correspondence to State ministries of Basic Education and Higher Education, selected schools and youth groups will end and our seminars begin. By the 10th month, the project has gone round many schools; WASH clubs are set up in each school by MediaBFI. Follow up visits and review of the project follows.
Our cartoon animation video will be shown to our target audience in every school visited through a projector screen; complimentary copies of the video will be left with each school authority for future educational use. The video will also be available on the internet for free download via YouTube, FaceBook and other social media. The schoolchildren who can access the internet will be encouraged to download the video online. The printed info-graphics will be distributed as educational flyers and posters during the WASH@Schools health outreach exercises. Power-point presentations of the info-graphics will also be used to teach the children the contents. Expected reach at phase one: 10,000 youths at least.
How Project’s Impact/Success will be measured:
A project is deemed successful when it is proven that the very reason why it was carried out has been achieved or is being gradually achieved, directly or indirectly. Expected outcome of this project include: SCHOOLCHILDREN HAVING ENHANCED KNOWLEDGE OF THE BENEFITS OF GOOD WATER, SANITATION AND HYGIENE (WASH) HABITS, AND APPLYING SAME TO THEIR DAILY LIFE IN SCHOOL AND AT HOME; PUPILS COOPERATING AMONG THEMSELVES, WITH SOME GUIDANCE AND HELP FROM TEACHERS TO MAKE THEIR SCHOOL ENVIRONMENTS WASH-FRIENDLY; YOUNG PEOPLE SHARING WASH INFORMATION IN THE SPIRIT OF PEER EDUCATION, THEREBY IGNITING BEHAVIOR CHANGE AMONG THEIR PEERS BY REGULAR HAND-WASHING, IMBIBING PERSONAL HYGIENE IN SCHOOL AND AT HOME; YOUNG PEOPLE GIVING US FEEDBACK ON HOW THEY FIND OUR INFO-GRAPHICS/COMICS USEFUL VIA CORRESPONDENCE, POSTED COMMENTS ON OUR WEBSITE, PHONE CALLS, SMS, ETC. The number of people who engaged in all listed outcome above will form the basis for measuring impact and success of the project during our evaluation and review stage.
One major follow up/monitoring strategy MediaBFI will deploy to track the outcomes of our WASH@Schools youth engagement project is the setting up of WASH clubs in most schools visited, with the cooperation and ssistance of school authorities and State Ministries of Education and other relevant stakeholders. Depending on funding availability we may subsequently establish inter-class, and/or inter-school sanitation contests with incentives for winners ranging from fantastic little gifts and certificates of awards to media publications, invitation to MediaBFI facilitated television talk shows, etc; another follow up strategy will be in the form of partnering with target schools for free distribution of subsequent WASH education info-graphics and related IEC materials published by MediaBFI and or other stakeholders.
A total of $9,000USD (nine thousand US dollars) has been budgeted for the first phase of the WASH@Schools outreach, which includes the following costs:
* Design/printing of 10,000 copies of a special WASH@Schools advocacy comics for free distribution to schoolchildren and other youths who can’t access the virtual version of the pilot edition of WASH4All comics series already being downloaded online worldwide for free;
*Production of a 2-5 minute cartoon animation video clip, some info-graphics, posters/teaching aids for edutainment/advocacy and creative education use in schools and youth groups during the youth engagement health outreaches;
*Renting of a befitting contact/program office for effective coordination, easier public contact and logistics during the course of the project which is expected to kick off in September, 2015;
*Purchase of video projector and screens, a power generator plus other electrical gadgets vital to effectively shoot video films, carry out PowerPoint presentations during the exercise in schools/youth groups;
*Purchase of hand-washing buckets, soaps and hand towels;
*Transportation of men and equipment to and from event venues;
*Correspondence, phone calls and paper works;
*Renting of chairs tables and canopies where needed;
*Honoraria for health education consultants, artists and other resource persons recruited for the exercises.
Make your donations via direct fund wiring to our corporate account: ZENITH BANK A/C NO.: 1012218300. Account Name: BEAUTIFUL FEET INTERNATIONAL (BFI) MINISTRY