What is OpenWASH?
The OpenWASH project was designed to create learning resources that provide a core curriculum for teaching and learning for the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector in Ethiopia. The primary focus for the programme of study is water and sanitation in urban settings. It is a forward-looking programme that has been developed in expectation of the increasing demand for suitably qualified employees that will arise from the expansion of WASH provision throughout Ethiopia.
OpenWASH is a component of World Vision Ethiopia’s ‘Urban WASH’ programme and is led by The Open University UK. ‘Urban WASH’ is part of UNICEF’s ‘One WASH Plus’ programme, which is funded by UK aid from the UK Government as a contribution to the Ethiopian Government’s One WASH National Programme (OWNP). The OWNP is a multimillion-dollar collaborative programme that aims to bring comprehensive improvement to water and sanitation provision across Ethiopia. The programme document identifies ‘capacity gaps at all levels as one of the most pervasive threats to the successful implementation of the program’ (OWNP, 2013). OpenWASH aims to contribute to filling those capacity gaps.
The original concept for OpenWASH was inspired by the Ethiopian Health Extension Programme. In 2010/2011, a team of Open University academics worked with Ethiopian health experts to prepare a set of modules that are now used successfully throughout Ethiopia to train Health Extension Workers. In developing the OpenWASH resources, we have followed many of the principles, and learned from the experiences of the health programme.
OpenWASH resources consist of five modules and this Handbook. They provide a set of innovative and flexible learning resources designed for people engaged across a range of positions and levels in the WASH sector. Primarily, the aim is to provide a curriculum for students who are training to work in the sector. The modules can also be used for in-service training of new employees and by more experienced practitioners seeking to improve knowledge and skills in specific areas. The material could also contribute to training of community members, rural WASH committees (WASHCOs), school parent teacher associations (PTAs), women’s groups, youth groups, and others.
This Handbook provides guidance on some of the ways that the modules can be used, including as the basis for:
- face-to-face classroom teaching
- short residential courses
- blended or distance learning with tutor support
- independent or group study.
The modules are designed primarily as printed publications but will also be available online as Open Educational Resources (OER) under a Creative Commons licence. This means that they are free to download, adapt and use within the terms and conditions of the licence. The online version of the modules can be found at http://www.open.ac.uk/ido.
The modules are written in English and will be translated into Amharic, Oromo, Tigrigna and Somali.