Knowledge is power! How water, sanitation and hygiene awareness can improve community’s lives

Published December 20, 2016 by Team SPUR

Ahmed and Deqa drawing a community sanitation and hygiene plan during a recent training session.

 

30-year-old Ahmed has come a long way in learning the direct effect sanitation and hygiene conditions have on human health and he has a lot to share with his community. Ahmed is now a member of the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) committee in Badhan and today, he is convinced that the first step to improved hygiene conditions is awareness and openness to discuss an often undiscussed topics that people usually shy away from.

For the past 5 years, Adeso has been working in implementing WASH promotion activities in Sanaag and Mudug regions through the rehabilitation of shallow wells, community Berkards, piping connections and providing solar pump system to communities. In some places, for the first time people got a steady access to clean water at any time of the day. Upon the completion this WASH initiative, it’s important to manage these water sources, their upkeep, best practices to ensure sustainability and healthy for human consumption.

Adeso training facilitators meet with communities and have interactive sessions where they discuss management of these water points and protecting them from contamination, and purifying drinking water. All the while sharing with them the best hygiene and sanitation practice to avoid water-related diseases including diarrhea and malaria.

Training is given first to the WASH committees on the operation and maintenance of rehabilitated water sources (O&M) and hygiene promotion, committee members like Ahmed then share the knowledge with their communities.

“What has become clear to me is that you can’t just change behaviors overnight. Changing community’s practices takes a long time and it starts with explaining to people the reason behind why they should do things differently. It takes awareness and education on what is at stake when people adopt poor hygiene practices.”  Said Ahmed

“We have also learned how to select the right site for construction of water storage facilities and also how to purify our drinking water through something as simple as boiling it” he added
Forty one year old Deqa Ali, a member of Durduri WASH committee who participated in the training is very delighted for gaining such important knowledge.

“I am very happy to have had this training. I am enlighted; water is life, and often people struggle to get access to it but what is equally important is to preserve and manage it well to make clean water accessible to every member of the community” She observed.

This training was carried out by the Supporting Pastoral/Agro-Pastoral & Urban Poor through Recovery initiatives (SPUR) in Sanaag and Mudug regions funded by USAID. The project is being implemented in Somalia/Somaliland and will combine humanitarian assistance and early recovery interventions to tackle the crises affecting vulnerable women, girls, boys and men in Mudug and Sanaag areas.