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International Rescue Committee Celebrates Global Handwashing Day in May-Ayni Refugee Camp

Location: My-Ayni Refugee Camp, Ethiopia
Participants: 2,100
 International Rescue Committee

International Rescue Committee (IRC) has been working in My-Ayni Refugee Camp since May 2008 in different intervention areas. In order to reduce mortality and morbidity due to diarrhea and other water-related diseases among refugee community in My-Ayni, IRC Ethiopia has been implementing an environmental health program focusing on water, sanitation, and hygiene promotion in addition to other sectors.

IRC’s hygiene promotion program is promoting hygiene by recruiting 20 Environmental Health Agents (EHAs) and using different approaches like house-to-house visits, Community Hygiene Clubs (CHCs), hygiene education in public places like school and health centers; Small Group Discussions, camp cleaning up campaigns, and festivals.

Around 2,100 people attended a handwashing event with the theme of “Choose handwashing, choose health.”  The composition of the participants was varied (elders, children, men, women, youth, teenagers, peoples with disability). Tippy taps were installed at the entrance of the campaign ground and everyone was washed hands with soap before entering the campaign hall. Brochures with information about handwashing were distributed and handwashing posters were displayed.

A song about handwashing is presented by SEMAY Music club members. Three poems were selected from a competition and read. There was a time for a question and answer competition among six interested community members from every zone and was selected randomly.

Finally, there was presentation of an amazing child success story. A five years old boy called Morduca Eyob, a student in May-Ayni pre-school, had changed his and his mother’s handwashing behavior and influenced his friends after he received  hygiene education in a school program.

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