Me da se (“Thank you” in Ghanaian)
The Village by Village Clean Hands Saves Lives (CHSL) programme has completed another successful village project.
Neil Kerfoot, the Charity’s Chief Executive, has sent a report directly from Ebenezer Gyampoh, who heads and delivers the projects in the country to get his insights, which you can read below. He is one of the most senior members of staff and a Director of Village by Village Ghana. He is a very popular teacher and has done a great job; most importantly he has brought the community and school with him on this journey to improve the lives of so many children.
“Clean Hands Save Lives” – Asuokor village.
Most of the sickness that children get in rural communities can be reduced by proper hand washing combined with the provision of hand washing stations and rain water harvesting. This is exactly what the project that you have supported has done in the village of Asuokor, in the Eastern Region of Ghana West Africa. The “Clean Hands Save Lives” (CHSL) project is directed towards proper hand washing campaign in rural communities, mostly in schools. The focus of the campaign is to bring about positive change in behaviour with regards to proper hand washing.
The CHSL project involves eight stages with each stage seeking to arouse the hand washing spirit in the children we come in contact with in rural schools and communities at large. One of these campaigns took us to Asuokor village. The first stage is to visit and meet opinion leaders of the community and explain the project to them collect data on the community and finally seek the blessing of the opinion to carry on with the campaign.
Before we met the children of Asuokor Basic School we built water storage facilities and a three cubicles toilet for the school. We do this in collaboration with the school authorities and community members at large by getting their support and ownership it means the community will look after the Polytanks (Rain water harvestings tanks – water storage facilities) and toilets long after we have gone.
After this stage of facility building Village by Village (VBV) team me the headteacher and his entire staff and school Management Committee (SMC) and Parents Teachers Association (PTA) executives to take them through demonstrations of how germs operate in its practical terms.
The teachers will in turn pass on knowledge acquired to the school children and PTA executives pass on the knowledge to their members when they meet them. The teachers are given time and space to teach the children on the need to wash their hands after using the toilet, before eating, after playing in the soil etc.
VBV team in three weeks interval visit the school to quiz the children assert the level of knowledge the children have acquired in terms of hand washing.
To drive home the knowledge the children had acquired the VBV team takes the children through demonstration of how germs operate by using gel and UV light. The children after UV light experience are taken through a thorough hand washing procedure.
The VBV team through the chief and his elders organise community (adult) and teach on the need to wash their hands before eating, after using the toilet, when returning from market and farm etcetera through videos and people from authorities.
At the end of the project every seven out ten children wash their hands before eating and eight out of every ten people wash their hands after using the toilet. To ensure this behavioural change continues, VBV supply the school with soap and bucket to make sure hand washing continues.