The Road to Having Ideal Homes in my Community

Janvier Dusabe explaining the use of the drying rack in households

Janvier Dusabe is a 43 year old Congolese refugee living in Kisura C village in Rubondo Zone in Nakivale Refugee Settlement, Isingiro district. Together with 11 family members, Dusabe fled Congo and arrived at the settlement in 2011 to start a new, peaceful life. On arrival, Dusabe noticed that most of the refugees didn’t have proper latrines and therefore maintaining hygiene was a big challenge.

Additionally, refugees had limited access to clean water, bathing shelters, and kitchens. Many of them resorted to open defecation around their homes and using contaminated water from nearby swamps. They also dumped rubbish and waste either on the roadsides or in unkempt places that were not properly managed.

which was contaminated as it caused them diarrhea and related diseases.

‘’The only clean water we had access to was from Lake Nakivale which is very far from Rubondo Zone. It was difficult to carry out any hygienic practices even if we wanted to,’’ said Dusabe. Oxfam’s Integrated WASH, gender and protection program funded by the European Commission Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) has been implemented in Nakivale Refugee settlement since April 2020. Oxfam was assigned 11 villages, including Kisura C to implement its program.

Oxfam conducted community engagements to introduce the program to the refugees and also increase awareness on the importance of proper hygiene and creation of ideal homes with accessible and clean latrines, sizable and manageable rubbish pits, tippy taps with clean water, bathing shelters, kitchens, drying racks and lines for hanging clothes.

Many households in Nakivale Refugee Settlement lacked the above facilities exposing them to diseases especially among pregnant mothers and children. Oxfam trained Dusabe and other youth as a Village Health Team (VHT) Members.

‘’I was trained by Oxfam on how to sensitize, increase awareness, and report in relation to hygiene and sanitation,’’ said Dusabe. “After the training, I conducted door to door awareness visits in households around the settlement approaching mainly child headed families, pregnant mothers and also helped in identifying persons with disabilities and linking them with Oxfam to be supported with latrine construction,” Dusabe narrated.

He has so far been able to reach out to 42 households, including child headed families, supporting them to become ideal homes, which has improved the hygiene in the refugee settlement.

‘’The continuous awareness of WASH in the settlement has helped reduce the cases of diarrhea and related diseases. The people are now practicing hand washing, proper storage of water and cleaning their homes on a daily basis which wasn’t the case in the past,’’ said Dusabe.