A Report on Just a Drop's Hygiene Work in the Past Year
Report written by Just A Drop – August 2021
From our inception, Just a Drop has never just been about providing safe water; our hygiene work is a vital step to maximise the impact of our overall projects. In the past year, across the six countries we work in we provided 7,212 people with better hygiene facilities in or near their homes, and trained 39,915 people on appropriate hygiene measures. Furthermore, in 97 schools last year, we reached 5147 people with improved facilities and trained 21,059 people on hygiene and sanitation.
The onset of the coronavirus pandemic starkly showed the importance of our hygiene work. Our COVID-19 response efforts reached 151,094 people across India, Cambodia, Nicaragua, Zambia, Uganda and Kenya. This work included installing hygiene facilities and delivering training, which covered topics such as handwashing and social-distancing, essential steps to mitigate the spread of the deadly virus. We installed hand wash stations in Ugandan and Zambian Health Centres, which are used by around 100,000 people a year. In Zambia, Uganda and Cambodia, we distributed PPE to enable our partners to continue to deliver their services safely.
In Kenya, we delivered hygiene training to over 3,000 people as well as training communities in soap-making. And in India and Nicaragua, we incorporated COVID awareness into our hygiene training. For our efforts in the past year, we were awarded the Rathbones COVID-19 Response Award at the 2021 Charity Awards. With the pandemic being far from over, our hygiene work will continue to play an essential role in strengthening communities against the virus.
“We will improve on the measures we take in disease prevention through application of many hygiene practices in our day to day activities… Soap making will help us generate income and meet our basic needs at personal level”
This year we have successfully developed and expanded our MHH (menstrual health and hygiene) programme, tailored to fit each specific country. In schools across Nicaragua, Uganda, Kenya and Zambia we reached 12,408 girls, boys and their families with MHH training delivered by trained health educators and are about to expand our work into Cambodia.
Without MHH training, girls often miss school due to taboos, lack of knowledge, no access to sanitary materials and lack of facilities in schools, and so this is an invaluable aspect to our work, allowing students to live healthier and happier lives. Access to sanitary materials and MHH education has been even harder during the pandemic, and so this programme has been and continues to be a critical way of supporting girls around the world.
In Nicaragua, we have delivered a pilot MHH training in 10 schools, setting up hygiene corners to help illustrate hygiene products and have supported teachers to incorporate MHH into the curriculum. Following the success of this pilot we are about to start a larger programme targeting 60 schools.
In Kenya, we trained a number of staff in our partner organisation to enable them to incorporate MHH training into their wider WASH training.
In Uganda, we set up and trained an enterprise group to make sanitary pads and soap; to help kickstart the group we have ordered sanitary pads for girls in Nasse and Saayi Primary schools who will also receive MHH training. We have recently carried out WASH projects in these schools so that they have gender sensitive toilets and water.
In Zambia, we provided reusable sanitary pads and MHH training to 5 communities where we had installed boreholes, and are about to start incorporating MHH into schools with reusable pad provision and training.
In Cambodia, we have designed a MHH scheme which will be incorporated into our WASH projects there starting in late 2021, delivering books and training into school.
In India, we have incorporated MHH training into the WASH training we carry out in villages.
“At the beginning, the girls were afraid to broach the subject, but now they are more relaxed about it. We have let them know that is a normal stage in their life. At the same time, we teach the boys, so that they also know about the subject and avoid the bullying that previously occurred in the absence of this knowledge … Parents have also been trained, so that they are informed more about the subject and to lessen the fears that existed in the past when addressing the issue of menstrual hygiene”
We’ve had great success with our microfinance scheme in recent years, allowing individuals in Wakiso District, Uganda to start their own businesses, increasing household income and teaching valuable business skills. Based on the success of this scheme, we have recently started working in Kapelebyong, in the north east of Uganda.
As part of our 5 year WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) programme in Kapelebyong, we have designed an income generating loan scheme to support the communities and increase the sustainability of the boreholes. To this end, in August we are implementing a WASH project in Aturai Village and to support the project we will be working with 20 people plus their families to help them achieve financial security through the provision of revolving loans alongside training. Following this pilot, we hope to incorporate the loans into the whole 5 year programme in Uganda.
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