The 4-year research project hands4health, which integrates the TRANSFORM Programme of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), was officially kicked-off. The consortium held its first online stakeholder workshop on April 22, 2021, gathering around 70 participants. These included project consortium partners, donors, local authorities and other national and international stakeholders. Both English and French speakers took part in the event.
Nathalie Wyser (SDC) welcomed the participants by introducing the TRANSFORM Programme, which promotes applied, need-based research conducted by researchers and implementing partners. The goal is to analyse, develop and test innovative solutions for sustainable development challenges in developing countries.
Maryna Peter (FHNW), Mirko Winkler (Swiss TPH) and Matthias Saladin (Skat Foundation) presented the hands4health project to the participants, which will develop a comprehensive approach to hand hygiene, water quality and sanitation in primary health care facilities and schools not connected to a functional water supply system. The project will also ensure wide stakeholder engagement for knowledge and expertise sharing and learning. Videos were shown on the key challenges in the countries in which the project will be active: Burkina Faso, Mali, Nigeria, and Palestine.
The workshop also gave the participants the chance to join different discussion groups on (i) WASH in schools, (ii) WASH in health care facilities, and (iii) Stakeholder engagement and knowledge sharing. One additional group was dedicated to French-speaking participants. Valuable feedback and suggestions on key challenges, best practices, useful tools and approaches were gathered on colourful Miro boards. The highlights of each group discussion were shared by the facilitators afterwards.
We are excited to move forward
The first hands4health event enabled the participants to become familiar with the objectives, activities, target populations and desired outcomes of the project. It also provided opportunities for them to clear questions, provide suggestions and engage with each other. Feedback on the event was positive overall and showed that participants are interested in further discussing and collaborating on WASH issues in schools and health care facilities.