Proper hand washing, sanitation training changing behavior for entire community

Friday, March 20, 2015

Personal and environmental hygiene practices were very poor in the Kacha Bira District community. Due to lack of proper sanitation facilities and lack of awareness, most people were defecating in the open field. They did not have the habit of washing hands after toilet, before and after meal. Lack of proper hygienic and sanitation practices coupled with inadequate potable water supply sicken tens of thousands of people especially children to waterborne disease including intestinal parasite, typhoid fever, trachoma and diarrheal diseases.  

In an effort to minimize the sanitation and hygiene problems of the community, World Vision provided awareness trainings for community to community led sanitation and hygiene practice for about 70,000 people. 9,450 households have constructed latrines at their compound using locally available materials. The community has constructed 110 latrines for by passers. Any guest walking in these areas may make use of the latrine freely.  

Amarech Tagesse, 45, married with 8 children lives in Kacha Bira District. Before World Vision awareness training on sanitation, she had no latrine. Her family was defecating on open field. They did not practice hand washing after toilet. “I did not see that open defecation could cause diseases. But during the awareness training session, we learnt that open defecation can be a cause of parasitic and diarrheal diseases. I have now constructed this latrine and practice washing our hands after using toilet,” gladly explains Amarech.  

Conducting the same awareness creation training to school communities was the other core task of World Vision. It trained a number of students from various elementary schools. World Vision helped the trained students to establish WASH clubs in their respective schools so as to transfer the sanitation and hygiene skills that they acquired through the training to their schoolmate through school mini media. “We teach about WASH elements through our mini media in play, drama, poem and question and answer. Since we started the teaching, students have begun practicing hygiene and sanitation both at personal and environmental level. You cannot see any student defecating in the open field as before. Everyone is curious of sanitation and hygienic practice,” explains Amanuel Ashame, one of the members of WASH club.

There was no public latrine in the Sheshicho town, the capital of Kacha Bira District. Especially guests visiting the town for various purposes had nowhere to defecate, but open field. There was also no public shower in the town. People who had no shower, had to walk long distances to take shower in the river. In response to this, World Vision constructed six ventilated latrines and six room showers for the public. People are now benefiting both from the shower and latrine services. “Before World Vision constructed the shower services, I had to walk about 30 minutes to take shower in the river. Because of the long distance, I used to take shower once a week. But today World Vision has constructed us a shower in the midst of our town. I am taking shower every two days,” happily explains the 20 years-old Hailu Getisso.  

The Kacha Bira Health Office is very much pleased with World Vision’s massive awareness creation training and the behavioral changes observed. Mr. Tadele Temesgen, Head for Kacha Bira Health Office explains, “World Vision’s massive WASH awareness creation works have brought about encouraging behavioral changes in the entire community. People have begun practicing the WASH elements in their everyday life.”