38-year-old Christopher Lemaletian is a Community Health Worker (CHW) in Kirisia division and a cultural ambassador of the Samburu community. Christopher understands that the issue of poor hygiene and sanitation is a major problem in his community. He says that Kirisia, being an area inhabited by pastoralist communities, many are not keen on practicing proper hygiene and sanitation hence hindering development of the community.
“My dream and hope is to see a healthy Samburu free of water, hygiene and sanitation related diseases,”says Christopher.
He appreciates the trainings carried out in the community terming them as an eye opener. Through his capacity as a CHW and cultural ambassador, Christopher empowers, educates and informs the members of his community on the importance of proper hygiene and sanitation practices.
Christopher is one of the community members who benefited from the construction of a community pit latrine. He has made it his purpose to persuade community members to use the toilet and stop open defecation. He informs them on the disadvantages and the consequences of open defecation.
He admits it is not a walk in the park but says he will not give up on his dream and hope.
“The Samburus are very practical people. For proper hygiene and sanitation to be practiced they need regular demonstrations”
Every two weeks, Christopher calls his community members to his homestead and demonstrates to them proper hygiene and sanitation practices; from how to wash their faces and hands to how to treat drinking water.
Christopher is happy that his fortnightly class is growing in numbers with every meeting. He believes that the WASH information he is advocating for is making a difference. He has taken his hygiene and sanitation classes to the chief’s baraza. Every time the chief holds a baraza in his village, Christopher always speaks to the people in attendance on proper hygiene and sanitation practices.
Christopher, who is also a farmer, saved up and piped water to his compound. To enable fellow community members access clean piped water, he sells the water to them at an affordable rate of Ksh2 per 20-litre jerican.
Christopher acknowledges that sharing of health information and capacity building is key for the promotion of hygiene and sanitation practices. He believes that capacity building will bridge the illiteracy gap that hinders the promotion of health in his community.