Location: Rivers State, Port Harcourt, Nigeria
Organizations: Rivers State Ministry of Education, The Centre for Information and Development
To save lives, wash hands
On the 15th of October every year since the 2008 UN declaration of the international year of sanitation, Global Hand washing Day has been celebrated with expansiveness as well as creativity and with themes which have ranged from ‘the power is in your hands’ in 2013 to Clean hands save lives’ in 2014 it has been an effective campaign to promote effective hand washing with water and soap as a key approach to disease prevention.
Dateline: 17th October 2014
Location: Nigeria. The Niger Delta region, Rivers State, Port Harcourt.
The Centre For Information and Development a non-profit organisation based in Port Harcourt, localised the initiative by triggering a children-led hygiene improvement campaign (WASH in Schools) among pupils in primary and secondary schools within its host communities, Amadi-ama and Abuloma. The activity reached a total of 1,200 children across five schools thus: Dayspring Infant and Junior School (298 pupils); Modern Primary School 1, Abuloma (200 pupils); Modern Primary School 2, Abuloma (280 pupils); Community Secondary School, Abuloma (48 students); Community Secondary School, Amadi-ama (374 students).
The premise for the target: The choice of engaging children of these communities as agents of change was informed by the prevailing social dynamics. Children, being integral parts of the close knit family units in these largely urban poor and lower middle-class communities are uniquely positioned to educate their peers, siblings and parents on the benefits of washing hands with soap and water. This approach by-passes the challenges of urban community mobilisation thus introducing a WASH culture amongst these otherwise hard-to-reach and underserved populations.
Activities: The highly intense and interactive sessions included:
Presentation of the Global Hand washing Day 2104 theme and its significance
Role play by students on effective hand washing with soap and water
Singing and dancing by students to the Hand washing lyrics.
Display and interpretation of the Global Hand Washing logo; pupils and students were able to identify (water, soap and hands) on the logo as the basis for effective hand washing… which showed that they were abreast of the importance of effective hand washing with soap and water.
Decisions by students on what they would do after the celebration:
We will always wash hands with soap and water after using the toilets.
We will always wash hands with soap and water before and after eating.
We will always wash hands with soap and water when we come back from school and after touching animals.
We will teach our parents, friends, brothers, sisters and neighbours how to wash their hands effectively using all the stages involved in washing hands with soap and water.
We will teach our schoolmates how to wash their hands with soap and water.
Sustainability: GHWD event was used as an entry point activity for a broader hygiene improvement programme in the target schools/ communities. CFID shall work with the school to establish WASH clubs in each school. These WASH clubs will be supported to ensure that the resolutions made during the Global Hand washing day celebration are implemented and there is behaviour change amongst their peers not only in Hand Washing but also on all the domains of hygiene.
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