After seeing the success of our hygiene education program, Water for South Sudan plans to launch a pilot sanitation program next year. Sanitation is defined as “the provision of facilities and services for the safe disposal of human urine and feces." Sanitation differs from hygiene in that it provides the means for people to be hygienic. Hygiene is the ability to participate in “conditions and practices that help to maintain health and prevent the spread of disease."
The WFSS Hygiene Program has helped South Sudanese villagers learn the importance of maintaining good hygiene by changing behaviors such as hand-washing. Our hygiene team helps villages identify hygiene practices in need of improvement, and helps create a plan to move forward. We have seen how improved hygiene practices can help extend the impact of clean water. Now, it is time for WFSS to take the next step and develop sanitation programs for the people we serve.
Sanitation is important for all, helping to maintain health and increase life-spans. However, it is especially important for children. Around the world, over 800 children under age five die every day from preventable diarrhea-related diseases caused by lack of access to water, sanitation and hygiene. In addition, diarrhea causes children to lose their appetites, which can lead to malnourishment. Limited access to sanitation has become such a worldwide problem that 1 in every 4 children suffer from stunted growth. This leads to “irreversible physical and cognitive damage."
Developing a sanitation program in South Sudan is the logical next step for WFSS and will enable us to fully move into the WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) sector, and will help build better health for those we serve.
Our plans for 2017 include a pilot sanitation project, most likely at a school. Improved sanitation can help maintain school attendance through latrine facilities like this one pictured below. This facility was constructed by UNICEF in Lohanosy, Madagascar, outside of the Lohanosy Primary School.
Sanitation is a vital piece of health and development around the world. The WFSS sanitation program will help address access to health and education in the world’s newest country.
Please join us in helping to bring access to clean water, hygiene and sanitation. To donate, please visit our donate page.