Model Homes for Better Health and Hygiene

Betty 31 years and single mother of 6 children demonstrates hand-washing at her home latrine Photo: Robert Ariaka/Oxfam

Aged 31, and mother of six children, Betty Awate Betty Awate has been able to overcome the challenges of managing a home singlehandedly. After the death of her husband in the South Sudan war, Awate arrived in Uganda as a refugee in March 2017 with her six children and was given a piece of land to establish a home.

Awate set up and dug a pit latrine and constructed a bathing shelter. She went ahead and constructed a kitchen and drying racks to keep clean her utensils. She also managed to fix a drying wire to dry her clothes, and put up a handwashing facility at the latrine point and sunk a rubbish pit. This was all done singlehandedly.

She ensures the compound is swept daily to control falling leaves of trees and rubbish from the homestead. She washes her latrine daily and trains her children to wash hands immediately after using latrines.

This has helped improve health conditions at her home. Awate says this happened because she attained a training organized by Oxfam on good home management and hygiene promotion. “The training has helped me because I keep my utensils clean, wash the latrines, advise children to wash hands before and after eating food and after visiting latrines.” Awate explained, adding, “I also wash hands before breastfeeding and this has controlled the spread of diseases in my home.”

Her household has not contracted any hygiene and sanitary related diseases in over a year. Awate says they only suffered from malaria even though the household uses treated mosquito nets.

As a single mother, Awate says she does the work slowly and ensures all the basic sanitary facilities needed for a home are present. Her first child is now in P.6 while others are in the lower classes.

Currently, the neighbors have picked up good practices at her home and use it as a learning ground to establish model homes with all basic sanitary facilities.

“My neighbours have been able to adopt the good practices and often visit me to explain how I made it work,” Awate said. This provides her teaching opportunities in sensitizing refugees on managing homes with good hygiene practices, which she does voluntarily and at no cost.

Model Homes are one of the approaches Oxfam in Uganda through funding from European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid Department (ECHO) is using to encourage proper sanitation and hygiene measures among refugee and host communities in West Nile, which are essential for survival and prevention of diseases.

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 and South Western Uganda. The Oxfam-led project, implemented in a consortium with Engineers Without Borders-USA, AWYAD and CEFORD, supports refugees and host communities living in Imvepi, Rhino Camp, Omugo and Kyaka II refugee settlements in Uganda.