Monday, 10 April, 2017
Good hygiene practices prevent disease. Amref Health Africa works with communities to train them in basic hygiene and sanitation practices improve access to toilets and encourage the use of clean and safe water for drinking and cooking. Supported by UNICEF, Jilinde is an 18-month project aimed at improving water, sanitation and hygiene services in schools. Working with 19 primary and six secondary schools, this project aimed to scale up the school WASH services in Makete District Council. It is designed to promote hygiene practices and facilitate knowledge gain and behavior change among school children as a means of reducing water and sanitation-related diseases.
Irene France, 12 and Zubeda, 13, both attend Ivalalila Primary School in Makete District, Njombe Region. They both learned about the benefits of washing their hands after using the toilets and how to keep the toilets clean. They are members of the Ivalalila Health Club led by their school health teacher. The teacher trained them in health related issues, including keeping the environment, toilets, and class rooms clean and the importance of washing their hands before and after taking food.“I’m very happy to be a health club member. It helps me learn about health and hygiene and I teach what I learn to others, including my family. I have learned how to keep toilets clean inside and out and how to avoid the spread of disease in our community. Now I feel happy that I can teach these things to my class mates,” explains.
The Ivalalila students are now practicing many hygiene principles that they didn’t previously use. The health club members are working hard to spread the knowledge among other students, their families and their community as well. When the team visited Kipangala Secondary School in Makete, the head teacher acknowledged the support from Amref Health Africa in constructing water tanks and modern toilets and the funding from UNICEF. Initially, the school had pit latrines which were full most of the time. Students frequently got sick due to contamination. Water was also scarce until the construction of the two big tanks which collect water during the rainy season.
“As you can see, students now have these new toilets, so it’s important that we are learning to live in a healthy environment. Since we have gained these modern toilets and new skills, all students are now practicing good hygiene. We always remind each other to keep ourselves clean. I know students will learn more about hygiene in the health club sessions. Access to clean water, safe latrines and proper hygiene can mean the world to a community and especially to girls and women,” said, Mr. Method S. Sanga, the Kipangala Secondary School head teacher.
Amref Health Africa’s focus on WASH ensures communities have adequate capacity to develop, operate and maintain their water sources, as well as improve sanitation and hygiene practices in a sustainable way. Better managed water sources help prevent and control water- and sanitation-related diseases and improve nutrition and livelihoods. Amref Health Africa Tanzania facilitates the availability and installation of equipment, focuses on societal mechanisms that ensure it remains functional, and on optimum use of the available water to ensure maximum health benefits. WASH aims to increase access to safe and adequate water; increase access to and use of appropriate sanitation facilities; promote safe hygiene practices in schools and prevent endemic diseases.“
I feel happy now I teach these things to my class mates,” – Irene France