Children championing proper hygiene practices
With funding from KfW, Oxfam is working in the refugee settlements of Rhino Camp and Omugo extension in West Nile to provide safe water access and improve sanitation and hygiene practices of South Sudanese refugees and the host communities. This includes the construction of water supply systems, as well as latrine construction in institutions like schools and health centers. Currently, Oxfam has scaled up construction of 4 water supply systems in the areas of Pawor, Cinya, and Yelulu; this is geared towards ensuring that the underserved and water-stressed communities have access to water in the long run.
With access to water, comes the need to understand how it can be used to improve the sanitation and health of the water users. This is why after constructing the latrines in the schools, Oxfam has trained members of the institutions like schools in proper sanitation and hygiene. These include training in proper hygiene practices like handwashing after visiting the latrines, before and after eating food, cleaning in and around their homesteads, safe-keeping of drinking water, all in a bid to reduce the risk of poor hygiene-related diseases like cholera, diarrhoea.
Over time, these practices have trickled down into the communities not only through community Hygiene Promoters but also through the children who are trained in proper hygiene activities while at school. These include washing hands with soap or ash after visiting the latrines, before and after eating food; regular cleaning of the latrines and proper disposal of waste – keeping the school and classes clean.
Students have not only embraced these practices but they have taken them into their homes, where they have noted significant improvement in the overall families’ health.
Liberty, formerly a P7 candidate at Illi Primary School said, “After I learned washing hands with ash, I went home and told my father about it, and my whole family started to use ash when washing our hands. I have seen that I no longer get many stomach pains as I used to before and I am happy for that.”
Another student Patrick, also adds, “Immediately I finished training at school, I went home and told my family to stop eating food without washing hands, I worked with my brothers and we built a tippy tap near our latrine. I know we shall not suffer from diseases like diarrhoea.”
KfW funding has enabled humanitarian organisations like Oxfam to provide access to safe water and sanitation services to refugee victims of conflict and disasters and their host communities every year.