Friday, April 9, 2010

Sanitation Week Stories

We partnered with the District Water Office in March, in order to do sanitation work in all of the Healthy Villages, in celebration of International Sanitation Week. We were meant to specifically focus in Nabitovu - district officials and a team of 50 university students would go there every day to do house-to-house sanitation education and hands-on work. District officials also planned to visit each of our HV villages, however, so that all were participating in "Sanitation Week." We had already arranged "hands-on days" in each of our other villages, this time the district offiicals would come along for the ride. Part of UVP's annual sanitation goals this year include holding these sanitation 'push' campaigns in each of our Healthy Villages.

The Sanitation Days really began on Wednesday. On Tuesday, to get everything organized and ready, Julius had held a hands-on training with 4 of the university students and a bunch of the VHT members. He went over how to make a tippy-tap, a plate stand, etc. He also helped the VHT members come up with an action plan - for the rest of the week (Wed - Sat), all sanitation workers would divide into 6 groups. Each group would be lead by a VHT member (or perhaps 2), and a UVP or District individual (or perhaps 2), and have around 8 or 9 university students. Over the course of the week, we worked with these teams to ensure that each team was constructing tippy taps that was up to standard, and UVP staff used our bicycles to travel from home to home checking in on the teams. We also provided lunch to the university students, to allow them to put in a full day's work.

In the end, it was an incredible, amazing success! On Friday, I went to the meeting place, knowing that I would find somebody working nearby, and indeed I did: I found Edward, one of the VHT members. He was wandering around with a bunch of Jerry-Cans over his shoulder and a bundle of wire, and he agreed to take me over to Julius's team. On the way from Kasokoso's (the meeting place), we passed house after active house - the entire village had come alive with sanitation work! It was incredible. Houses were being "smeared" (this apparently keeps fleas away), tippy-taps were everywhere, wood was being cut for plate stands and latrines and trash pits were being dug... two individuals stopped us, as we walked the 2 or so minutes to Julius's team, in order to ask Edward about getting a tippy-tap, or wire, or string, or something like that. Edward told me that the whole village was like this - "people did not go to their gardens today," he said. "They have been working since morning, just doing sanitation."

It was truly amazing. It seemed like the university students, district people and UVP staff, had somehow become a critical mass, and ignited a fire of action in the village that was now continuing without us. Everyone is working! Everyone suddenly wants their house to be as excellent as their neighbor's! It is truly inspiring to see.
-- Leah Bevis, Healthy Villages Coordinator


Jenn Jehnsen said...

This is so exciting!!!

garima said...

Approximately 1.2 billion people in the world live in extreme poverty
Poverty creates ill-health because it forces people to live in environments that make them sick, without decent shelter, clean water or adequate sanitation.


Globally more than 173 Million people stood up against poverty and other goals ( MDG's) in 2009, a Guinness World Record!

Let us break this record in 2010!

Be the voice for the millions of poor people living across India.


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