Many people in developing countries do not understand where disease comes from and how to stop it’s spread. That's why we have added the WASH program to our list of services. "WASH" is an abbreviation for "Water, Sanitation and Hygiene". As part of this program people are taught about water contamination, personal habits that lead to disease, and what can be done to improve their water and their health.
Our WASH program teaches people three main topics for living a healthy and disease free life:
The classes integrate a program called Interactive Participatory Training Method (IPTM). This method engages everyone in the classroom, allowing each trainee to practice critical thinking and problem solving through observing their daily sanitation and hygiene practices. Using IPTM, trainees are encouraged to openly discuss their daily sanitation and hygiene practices and are taught to understand how some of their habits contribute to sickness and disease within their homes and communities. With this new understanding people are encouraged to contribute their own ideas of what changes they can make to stop diseases from continuing and are guided into proper solutions.
Many people rely on water sources that have a high risk of fecal contamination. The lack of toilets and proper sewer systems are primary contamination factors but there are many other things that can lead to disease. Even water that is safe at its source is at risk of becoming contaminated unless it is treated, transported, stored, and handled properly.
Our trainings equip people with knowledge about what water sources could be contaminated, how to transport, store, and handle water in a safe way. People also learn about different filtration and purification methods for their drinking and cooking water.
Improper disposal of human waste is devastating for public health and can spread serious diseases such as cholera and typhoid. The practice of defecating in the open (such as in fields, bushes, or by bodies of water) is very common within rural Kenyan villages. In most cases people do not understand that by participating in open defecation they are contributing to the sickness and disease within their own village. Our trainings teach people how to dispose of their human wastes in a proper manner in order to mitigate disease.
Proper hygiene does not come naturally to most people. Very few understand the importance of washing their hands after using the toilet and especially before preparing food. Incorporated into each training is a detailed diagram showing how fecal matter is transported from the latrine/toilet to the dinner table. After reviewing the diagram trainees are asked to explain how the cycles of contamination from latrine to dinner table can be broken. People actively participate in hand washing to gain real-life understanding about the proper method.
The Village Water Filter
The use of a Village Water Filter is incorporated with our trainings. This filter works off of hollow fiber membrane technology, filtering bacteria down to 0.1 micron and has an estimated lifespan of 10 years. The filter gets attached to the bottom of a bucket; dirty water is then gravity fed through the filter assembly. Once the filter becomes filled with debris the water flow will slow until only a small amount is able to come through. At this point the filter is backflushed using a supplied syringe. When backflushing is complete, water flow will return to the normal rate. Trainees learn how to use and maintain the Village Filter.
At the end of every class each trainee is awarded with their own Village Filter and one bucket. This ensures that every participant is able to practice what they learned during the class. They now know about good hygiene and have a way to drink clean water. Susceptibility to diseases like cholera and typhoid has therefore been radically reduced.
Words from Emily
"What I’ve learned from this training will impact
my whole community because I am a community health
worker. Now that I know about these things, I will go
and teach all of them about hygiene and sanitation.”
Words from Paul
“This training is going to change my lifestyle concerning
water and sanitation. Now I know how to wash my
hands, and I’m going to change from the way I was
doing it before. I know I’m going to teach my village how
to wash their hands and when to wash their hands.”