Doing development cooperation through education: this is the objective of the project “Na Amashi Le Madersha”, launched by the United World College of Duino Aurisina, a town in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region.
The project, launched at the beginning of 2021 thanks to funding from the Friuli-Venezia Giulia regional government, was aimed at improving the hygiene/ health conditions of the community of Mundri West County, in South Sudan.
The United World College of the Adriatic is part of an international network of schools that aims to promote peace and international cooperation. The Na Amashi Le Madersha project confirms the College’s twenty-year vocation in the field of social volunteering, carried out with activities that aim to promote inclusive and sustainable growth, and to encourage students, once they have completed their educational path at the College, to become actors of a positive social change within their communities of origin.
The project was carried out through a set of different methodologies by an international and multicultural team. First, the team implemented a practical and targeted approach for the identification and supply of water, through an engineering study. The College then proceeded to carry out a sociological investigation to explore local traditions and culture, identify the problems of local adolescents and thus allow the specific training of the teaching staff and the students themselves.
The activities were carried out with the ambition of contributing in a tangible way to the achievement of three Sustainable Development Goals of the UN’s Agenda 2030, namely SDG 3 (ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages), SDG 4 (ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all) and SDG 6 (ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all).
The project contributed to provide a school in South Sudan with a secure water supply, promoting good practices on the use of water and the correct adoption of sanitary measures, also with the aim of reducing the risk of contagion from Covid-19. In parallel, the project offered psychological support to local teenagers with regard to sex education.
“The philosophy on which the United World College of the Adriatic bases its educational path – said Cristina Ravaglia, President of UWC Adriatic – is aimed at helping young people to broaden their horizons, welcoming them into a multicultural community characterized by great diversity. It is a unique experience for the students who attend it: they are offered the opportunity to attend the last two years of high school in an international context, which favors the development of their interpersonal skills, first of all empathy and compassion.”
Students and teachers from Italy and South Sudan took part in the project. Seven UWC students participated in the project remotely from Italy, 49 students (33 girls and 16 boys) were trained on water use and disease prevention in South Sudan, one person was trained in Mundri to provide local support for girls and boys, nine teachers were involved. Justine Tata, a former student of UWC Adriatic, born in Mundri and now a teacher in Canada, also took part in the project.
Thanks to further funding from the Friuli-Venezia Giulia Regional government, a new project for the development of entrepreneurship in the Mundri community will be launched in 2022. The project is focused on the local traditional production of soap using ash and shea nuts.