Advancing WASH amid the pandemic, Manila Water Foundation partnered with cement manufacturer Holcim Philippines to support the WASH in Schools (WinS) program of the Department of Education (DepEd).
The partnership was forged from the League of Corporate Foundations’ (LCF) call for collective impact among its member corporations and corporate foundations through the project, LCFWinS: Lingap Eskwela sa Pandemya .
On September 10, Holcim Philippines and Manila Water Foundation reached out to Talaga Elementary School and Mabini Central School to provide hygiene packs and information, education, and communication (IEC) materials on proper hygiene practices and COVID-19 precautionary measures. Barangays Talaga East, Pulong Balibaguhan, and Poblacion, and the Rural Health Unit in Mabini, Batangas also received IEC materials that would be distributed among its residents and stakeholders. Overall, 400 packs of hygiene supplies and 2,000 pieces of IEC materials were brought to the said schools and communities.
Catherine Joy Guinto, Operations Manager from Holcim Philippines, expressed that they are glad to be part of the WASH in Schools initiative despite the pandemic. “The goal of the project, which we were fortunate enough to participate in, is that we were given the opportunity to give [schoolchildren] IEC posters and hygiene kits prior the start of their classes,” she said. “[Another] good thing is that it is not just limited to the schools. It is also an opportunity for Holcim to extend help in supporting the fight [against] the pandemic in Barangays Talaga East and Pulong Balibaguhan.”
Gilma Porley, Principal of Mabini Central School and DepEd representative of Mabini District, shared that the project would be a great help in pushing WASH in Schools forward despite the distance learning modality. “Ang common problems or issues na nasasabi nila sa amin—aside po sa kakulangan ng budget dahil sila nga po ay focused na sa kanilang food supplies—‘yon pong handwashing, hindi na nila magawa dahil wala nga pong mga sabon. (The common issues that we were told—aside from lack of budget on food supplies—is practicing proper handwashing, because of the lack of hygiene supplies),” she said. “Napakalaking tulong po nang nalaman namin na isa kami sa recipients, dahil maipapagpatuloy po nila ‘yong health habits sa kani-kanilang mga tahanan. Sa ganoong paraan, hindi lamang po sila ang matututo pati rin po ‘yong mga relatives, mga kapatid, at mga magulang. (This is a huge help when we learned that our school is one of the recipients of this project because the pupils will be able to continue the health habits in their own homes. This way, they are not the only ones who will learn, but also their relatives, siblings, and parents),” she added.
Aside from the schools and communities in Mabini, Batangas, more schools and communities will soon be benefitting from the collaboration between Holcim Philippines and Manila Water Foundation, namely Sapang Kawayan Elementary School and Barangay Matictic in Norzagaray, Bulacan, Sixto Babao Elementary School and Barangay Ilang in Bunawan, Davao City, Barangay Quirino in Bacnotan, La Union, and Barangay Poblacion in Lugait, Misamis Oriental.
Manila Water Foundation was designated as the lead implementer of the LCFWinS project. This involves overseeing the construction of handwashing facilities in schools, production of IEC materials about proper hygiene and COVID-19 precautionary measures, and conduct of hygiene sessions using distance learning modules. For more information about Manila Water Foundation’s WASH programs, visit manilawaterfoundation.org.