WFSS Celebrates World Toilet Day in Wau

 wau residents participate in activities marking world toilet day.

wau residents participate in activities marking world toilet day.

64% of people in the world live without toilets.

In 2013, the United Nation’s Assembly declared November 19th as World Toilet Day to bring awareness to the importance of having a toilet. Today 4.5 billion people live without sanitation facilities in their households – more people in the world have cell phones than toilets.

Sanitation is a public health issue. According to the charity Wherever the Need, poor sanitation kills more people than HIV and AIDS, malaria, and measles combined. Poor sanitation leads to diarrhea. In 2015 there were 508,9541 known deaths across the globe from diarrhea of children under five. South Sudan ranks number 34 worldwide in deaths of children under five from diarrhea, with 3,243 in 2015. Sanitation is the single most cost-effective public health intervention to reduce child mortality2.

Sanitation also contributes to social injustice and poverty. When schools do not have sanitation facilities children, especially girls, often stay out of school-- either from illness, or in the case of girls, menstruation. There is a 15 percent increase in girls’ attendance rate once a toilet is introduced in a school.3 Women can’t work when they are forced to walk for water. Farmers and wage earners are less productive when they are not healthy due to poor sanitation. The World Health Organization states that there is $9 in economic benefit for every $1 spent on sanitation.

 teaching children about sanitation practices in wau.

teaching children about sanitation practices in wau.

 teaching children can help lead to greater behavior change in developing countries.

teaching children can help lead to greater behavior change in developing countries.

WFSS joined the world in celebrating World Toilet Day on November 19th. WFSS Compound Manager Abraham Majur Laam participated in a live radio talk show sponsored by WFSS. The panel also included the Directorate of Public Utilities and a representative from OXFAM GB. The show was interactive with listeners asking questions and sharing concerns about sanitation. Topics ranged from the construction of pit latrines to washing hands after toilet use to sustainability of facilities.

Other WFSS staff members helped to educate internally displaced persons at the Hai Masna camp in Wau. In addition to WFSS, there were delegates from Christians for Action, Relief, and Development; OXFAM GB; South Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission; Directorate of Public Utilities; and Norwegian Refugee Council. Educational dramas were used to demonstrate how to build a pit latrine using locally available materials and how to use a latrine. Songs carrying messages about hygiene and sanitation were sung and soaps were distributed.

To date, WFSS has drilled 304 wells in remote villages in South Sudan. Since 2014, WFSS has provided hygiene training to 1,584 people in 198 villages, who then train the rest of their communities in best hygiene practices, impacting over 100,000 people to date. WFSS is currently exploring an opportunity to build latrines in a school in South Sudan. 

 

1.        www.UNwater.org

2.       World Bank 2006

3.       Wherever the Need

"Our Hands, Our Future": Global Handwashing Day Celebration in South Sudan

Global Handwashing Day was celebrated on October 15th. The celebration is meant to raise awareness to how vital good handwashing habits are for all people, and bring more understanding to practices of handwashing around the world.

Global Handwashing Day is designed to:

  • Foster and support a global and local culture of handwashing with soap
  • Shine a spotlight on the state of handwashing around the world
  • Raise awareness about the benefits of handwashing with soap

This year's theme was "Our Hands, Our Future."

Water for South Sudan was pleased to participate in the celebration in Wau, where our South Sudan Operations Center is based. WFSS Hygiene Manager Mathew Akuar attended and shared photos of the celebration.

Many NGOs and government institutions participated in the event, including: WFSS, Red Cross, IOM, UNICEF, WHO, OXFAM GB, and Malteser International. Several government ministers and other distinguished guests were also invited.

Other invited guests included students and teachers from a variety of different schools who presented drama and songs related to promotion of hygiene in South Sudan. The main event of the celebration was a hand-washing demonstration.

Representatives from NGOs WASH Cluster and Government delivered speeches, and gifts of soap were given to all the participating schools.

WFSS Hygiene Manager Mathew Akuar also shared WFSS hygiene success stories, noting that villagers are happy to receive the training, and improve the life and health of their villages. He said that they sometimes use drama and acting to share hygiene messages, which helps the people remember concepts. 

Mathew notes that the lessons they teach to communities are very specific. “The first topic is the practical part, that they understand the meaning of hygiene. We gather and show tools like a clean cup, a clean saucepan, soap to clean hands, nail cutter to cut finger nails when they’re dirty, and a toothbrush to brush teeth.”

He notes that for the practical part of cutting finger nails, they need to show that “before you cut you have to show the dirt underneath the finger nails. They see the long finger nails fall down and some of them laugh because they see how dirty and that they were in a very bad place. Our country is independent but this was the first time they are hearing these things, and they say thank you for what you did.”

WFSS has been providing hygiene education and training to the villages we serve since 2014.  WFSS works with villagers to identify hygiene practices in need of improvement, then works to train the trainers (four men and four women in each village) who can then train others.

WFSS now has two hygiene education teams, one traveling with our drilling team, and one with our new well rehab team. We have now provided hygiene training in 158 villages, with plans for to conduct training in 90 more villages in 2018.

 

Handwashing Saves Lives

Global Handwashing Day is an annual global advocacy day dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding about the importance of handwashing with soap as an easy, effective, and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives. 

Celebrated annually on October 15 since 2008, Global Handwashing Day was founded by the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing, and is an opportunity to design, test, and replicate creative ways to encourage people to wash their hands with soap at critical times.

Global Handwashing Day is designed to:

  • Foster and support a global and local culture of handwashing with soap
  • Shine a spotlight on the state of handwashing around the world
  • Raise awareness about the benefits of handwashing with soap

Source:  http://globalhandwashing.org/global-handwashing-day/about-ghd/

The 2016 Global Handwashing Day theme was “Make Handwashing a Habit!” 

In South Sudan, Global Hand-Washing Day was celebrated at Muktah Primary School, near WFSS’s Operations Center in Wau. T-shirts and caps designed by UNICEF in partnership with the government were distributed.

The celebration was opened with words of prayers from the Bible and Quran, presented by Christian and Muslim students.

Many NGOs and government institutions participated, including: WFSS, Red Cross, IOM, UNICEF, WHO, OXFAM GB, Meltaster International. Several government ministers and
other distinguished guesses were also invited.

Other invited guesses included students and teachers from 10 different schools who presented drama and songs related to promotion of hygiene in South Sudan. The main event of the celebration a hand-washing demonstration.

Representatives from NGOs WASH Cluster and Government delivered speeches, and gifts of soap were given to all the participating schools.

WFSS Sanitation Manager David Majok attended the event and reported that “It was fantastic for WFSS to be part of this event!”