“I thought the training would be easy. But …”

CWS Myanmar | June 20, 2018

Latrine construction training practical time. Photo: CWS

Mr Parviz (in the middle) and the latrine construction trainees. Photo: CWS

To continue helping villages in Maubin Township in Southwest Myanmar, the CWS team once again worked with the Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology (www.cawst.org) further strengthen sanitation in flood-prone villages where CWS has been partnering with families for several years to help them affordably improve sanitation in schools and at home. In a mid-May visit CAWST Global WASH Advisor, Parviz Pulotov co-led a basic masonry (latrine construction) workshop with CWS Engineer, Ko Soe, to focus on building two types of pit latrines with 13 men from five villages who joined the workshop to gain new knowledge and practice new skills so they can help their families and neighbors expand affordable and acceptable latrine availability and use.

Coming together with little knowledge and no masonry skills, the 13 men started with learning about the key points of latrine construction: basic latrine parts, site selection, hole digging, lining components and superstructure options as well as different types of pits, which range in complexity – and cost. All sessions were presented in English and translated into Myanmar language with illustrated written materials to support Q&A, small group learning and after-class study. After two days of theory, the group moved to practice building two latrines of different designs for flood-prone and high-water table areas: one used only concrete rings to line the pit and the other used concrete and bamboo. Eager to learn new techniques as well as basic skills, the trainees strictly followed Parvis and Ko Soe’s instruction, step by step, and they were rewarded for their efforts with two successfully completed sanitary pits.

At the end of four intense days of learning, asking questions, practicing and testing, trainees said they were happy for the experience to learned how to build latrines by doing the work, asking questions and solving problems together with guidance and coaching from CAWST and CWS staff and, most importantly, an experienced local mason who can be an information source and coach, along with Ko Soe, in the future. At the workshop’s end, after receiving his certificate, one trainees said, “I know now how to build a pit latrine from start to finish; and, I really like the [active and interactive] teaching methods used by the trainers; they were different from my past experience. Thanks to the trainers and CWS [for organizing this]”. And another trainee shared this: “I thought the training would be easy. In reality, while there were things we already knew, [there were other] things we have never come across or known about; so, we learned a lot.”

(For more information please contact IKhreusirikul@cwsglobal.org )

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