‘Dash In A Real Rush Hurry Or Else Accident’. Hardly an appropriate or relevant choice of spelling for year four! Nevertheless, I’m sure many of us can remember being taught this humorous and light-hearted acronym at school back in the day. The irony is that for many people across the world, this subject is neither light-hearted nor humorous. Globally, one child dies from diarrhoea every 30 seconds and two more die of diseases that could have been prevented by simple hand-washing.
These are distressing statistics, however, while they may be hard to contemplate, they do highlight the vital importance of health education in homes that otherwise might not have access to basic information on household hygiene. As part of our response to this need, a little bit of HOPE runs a Health Education Programme which involves monthly trips into neighbouring villages to run sanitation sensitisation courses.
This is a huge project (expertly run by our wonderful colleague, Grace) that involves not only the initial classes but then a number of follow-up visits in order to confirm that the information provided is used within households on a practical level. This is followed by further meetings and community dialogues to elect a sub-committee who then take on the responsibility for ensuring good practice and the continuation of education and its implementation.
The classes cover topics from waste management to personal hygiene; the ultimate goal being to equip people with the knowledge of how to maintain good hygiene and sanitation practices in their homes with a vision to help reduce the spread of preventable diseases. In her latest report, Grace shared with us that in the last three villages visited, 17 families have now built their own pit latrines (which has resulted in a huge reduction in shared facilities). Furthermore, the general standard of cleanliness within households has improved considerably across all three villages. Grace also spoke of how wonderful it has been to see the sub-committees take ownership of the project and how the villages have been empowered to collectively embrace responsibility for making a change.
Nevertheless, Grace also shared with us the sheer volume of work that this program requires and the challenge she and the team face in meeting the needs of so many villages (that vary greatly in size and location). It can often be difficult to guarantee a follow-up visit for every household, especially in the larger villages. With these challenges in mind, please do consider getting involved with this project (visit our giving page here). We are so thankful for Grace, and all of you who help to make this work possible. Positive updates like these are always so encouraging to receive and we look forward to all the exciting developments still to come!