Sonja Bleeker is a Development Worker in Peru, supporting Progressio partners in water management. Here Sonja tells us about a competition that was run to raise awareness about environmental issues – as well as a unique activity.
From September – November 2012, the team of AQUAFONDO, along with local public institutions, have been busy implementing a project called AQUAGOL- Jugando Por el Agua ‘Playing for Water’, incorporating a unique sporting activity with awareness raising in the Province of Huarochirí.
Huarochirí is a province in the upper part of Lima's main water shed and is actually suffering a water crisis as a consequence of climate change, over exploitation and contamination. The main goal of this project was to raise awareness among teachers, children and their families about the water crisis Lima and its watersheds are currently suffering, through a competition. Twenty four schools took part, many of which are based in small rural communities at high altitudes.
Through the competition we hoped to raise awareness about water related problems and discover local strategies to conserve water - making use of a game, which has proved to be very popular: the AQUAGOL ball!
The AQUAGOL ball is a small rubber ball which is connected to the player with an elastic cord and allows him/her to carry out different exercises, skills and tricks. The AQUAGOL ball even has its own song!
At the same time, the whole community was involved in an environmental friendly task – collecting used batteries, which are the biggest household threat to the quality of water.
The competition was judged on these three components:
- The skills of children to do carry out different exercises with the AQUAGOL ball
- The environmental knowledge of the children
- The collection of used batteries by the community
After a month of working with about 60 teachers, focusing on the effects of climate change locally and methods of environmental education, the teachers were ready to start working with their pupils. In six weeks they trained the children how to use the AQUAGOL ball, taught them about environmental issues and, with the help of the whole community they collected a total of 600 kilos of used batteries. At the same time they ran internal competitions within each school, selecting the team which would represent their school in the final championship.
The final round of the competition was a real spectacle, with over 1000 people participating and was a great experience for everybody. The children shared their environmental knowledge, as well as talents in dancing, singing and, of course, with the AQUAGOL ball; Teachers and children have been able to spread the message about the water problems local people face and the solutions the same people have come up with.
Watch this video to see the amazing skills the children showed off during the finale of the competition:
A real success
The pilot project has been a real success. Through interesting, entertaining and engaging methods, children and teachers have been inspired to take action and protect their local water resources. AQUAFONDO is now planning to involve children of Lima-city as well.
AQUAFONDO is a so-called “water fund”, founded two years ago aiming to raise money for the protection of the three watersheds of Peru´s capital, Lima; including projects for the creation of a new water culture.
Photo shows children with their community's collection of batteries