Oliver Taban, Hygiene Promoter in Ariwa I, Rhino Camp Settlement. Photo credit : Oxfam

Model homes for Ariwa 1, Rhino Camp settlement

By Angela Kateemu Nuwahereza 

“One hundred sixty household latrines completed in Ariwa 1, I am excited!” exclaimed Oliver Taban while addressing a team of people from different organizations that were monitoring the work of Oxfam in Rhino Camp settlement, Arua, Uganda.

Oliver Taban, a South Sudan Refugee, is a hygiene promoter, a community structure that Oxfam and CEFORD work through while implementing Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) intervention in Rhino Camp Settlement.

The hygiene promoters work hand in hand with Oxfam to ensure that all households have a latrine and that all latrines - communal and household have hand-washing facilities, with soap (or ash).

“We also create awareness and campaign for clean and maintained latrines,” says Rashid Mawejje, Oxfam Public Health Promotion Team Leader.

”We disseminate key hygiene promotion messages targeting practices that are responsible for poor health of community members and as a result, we have reached many households with these messages through the Hygiene promoters," he adds.

“We have issues of collapsible soils and this frustrates the construction of household latrines. But we continue to mount the campaign for latrine construction,” says Taban. “As a result of this, open defecation has reduced. When we had just settled here, people used to just move in the back of the house and defecate,” says Taban.

At the onset of the intervention, Oxfam and CEFORD started work in Rhino Camp Settlement. They identified Hygiene Promoters from the community, trained them in creating awareness around public health risks, inspecting homes and promoting ideal households.

“We are vigilant in mobilizing members of our community to construct latrines,” says Oliver Taban.

“Not only have we achieved model homes, but I can proudly say that Ariwa 1 Village is the model village for Rhino Camp settlement.” adds Taban, excitedly.

Taban meets so many challenges as he does his work of hygiene promotion which include changing the mindsets of the community members. He is frustrated that on top of struggling with changing mindsets from open defecation to latrine use, sometimes the materials for latrine construction are not readily available, sometimes they are delayed. He believes that if this is scaled up, the homes that are remaining without latrines will have latrines.

Oxfam, with funding from European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid, is running an integrated WASH, Shelter and Protection Response to South Sudan Refugees and host communities in West Nile. The Oxfam-led project, implemented in a consortium with CARE International, Save the Children and CEFORD, supports refugees and host communities living in Bidibidi, Imvepi and Rhino Camp settlements in Uganda.

The European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid Department (ECHO) provides funding for projects run by its partners in the field to cover the needs of the most vulnerable. Through the work of Oxfam in Uganda, the commission supports the provision of safe water, proper sanitation and hygiene measures, which are essential for survival and prevention of diseases.

Through this project, Oxfam has so far reached 30,943 people, representing 10,753 households in Rhino Camp settlement alone.

“On top of clean water supply, training hygiene promoters, distributing hygiene and menstrual management kits, Oxfam has also constructed VIP Latrines in schools; constructed medical waste management facilities in health centres, continues to support households with latrine construction material,” says Rashid. “Presently, we are also piloting briquette making to manage solid waste and address the issue of environmental degradation. The target is to reach 203,500 in Rhino Camp, Imvepi, Bidibidi settlements.”