Youngest Community Leader in Hygiene Promotion

Written by: Rawaz Rostam

This is a story of a little girl with a great power - a power of change. It is a power which made a positive difference in her life and in the lives of those around her.

Rawan is an 8-year-old girl who has been displaced from her hometown in Mosul to Hassansham U2 Camp due to conflict. Rawan and her family took refuge in the camp to find a safe shelter where the family can live peacefully away from the fear of danger and attacks.

Rawan is a knowledge-seeking student and has a love for sharing and teaching information. Back in May 2017, when World Vision provided WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) support in the camp, Rawan first got to know Hygiene Promoters who advise and guide people in the community to pursue good personal and general behaviors. As she continued to observe and follow the hygiene promoters when they delivered weekly awareness sessions in the camp and also in schools, Rawan decided to become one of them. “I want to help my friends to stay healthy,” said Rawan so eagerly. “They need to wash their hands to swipe the dirt away.”

 

Rawan has always paid attention to the hygiene promoters and their instructions in various aspects of hygiene. She copied what she heard, sharing it with her school friends and children who were her neighbors, often having them practice what she had explained. After her participation in a workshop done by World Vision in the school on personal and general hygiene, Rawan became more active and more interested in hygiene promotion. She has helped her friends acquire good habits in terms of hygiene practices. “Rawan became my friend after she taught me how to wash my hands properly,” said Rawan’s friend Thuha.

In places like camps where basic needs are being provided, often health issues are not being covered completely. This increases the need for hygiene promotion in order to minimize the incidents of illness and influence overall behavioral change  regarding good practices to maintain the residents’ health in this environment.

More leaders, change makers, and confident children like Rawan are needed to make a difference in their communities. This will move the community towards progress, for children are the base of any community and it’s clear that even little people have a big impact. In Rawan’s situation, she has influenced so many as a  young hygiene promoter, and she daily reminds her friends of the practices of good hygiene like the correct way of hand washing, water preservation, playing in clean areas, and more.

 

Rawan has taken the hygiene promoters as her role models for the good work they do to raise awareness about various subjects related to good hygiene practices. She even has the intention of continuing what she does after she gets back to her hometown of Mosul one day.

“I will continue to learn and share what I have learnt with other children,” said Rawan, and followed with, “I would love to stay clean and healthy.”

World Vision has inspired this little girl and many others through programmes such as WASH to take action to help their community rise.