GUSHING TAPS AND DASHING SMILES: Clean Water Improves Children’s Hygiene in Abduwak

Yamyam Primary School in Abduwak District Somalia.

Thorn trees stretch in a stubborn thicket for hundreds of miles in every direction of Abduwak District, Somalia. The region is characterized by hot and dry weather most of the year except for some unreliable torrential rains which fall in April and October. Amidst the hot blowing wind and the fog of red sand, Yamyam Primary School is a beacon of optimism in the desolate arid area. Yamyam primary school is a community school located in an IDP camp in Abudwak district, with a population of 130 students and 4 teachers. The school, however, faces a myriad of challenges.

Access to safe and clean water has been one of the biggest challenges for this school. Intermittent supply of piped water from the village borehole led to poor hygiene practices among the school population which exposed the students to water-borne diseases. This meant there was increased school absenteeism due to these diseases, while other pupils come to school late because they had to look for water before coming to school. If teachers became sick, classes were canceled for all students” Recalls school Principal Siciido Mohamed Abdi

Nomadic Assistance for Peace and Development (NAPAD) in collaboration with Medico International (MI) and German Humanitarian Assistance (GFFO) supported the school in the construction of a 5000L berkad (water reservoir) and the rehabilitation of twin gender-segregated pit Latrines.

A water reservoir constructed in Yamyam Primary to ensure a constant supply of water.

We used to buy water from nearby places to provide for the students which was difficult and expensive for the school. Things have changed because we now have a berkad full of water. The water is clean and safe for human consumption. We fill the berkad with water from the tap and it provides enough water for the school community, which has brought more convenience to the school routine, “admits Siciido.

NAPAD staff worked together with the school staff to ensure that the necessary conditions were created so that girls and female teachers would be able to go to school without interruption. This included the rehabilitation of gender-separated latrines and washing facilities in the school. The latrines have lockable doors from inside to provide privacy and security for the students. Also, a crucial aspect of the project was ensuring the sanitation facilities are inclusive to facilitate accessibility by people living with disabilities to guarantee that this group of people will be able to use the facilities as independently and safely as possible.

The newly rehabilitated latrines

Many of the female students have dropped out of school over the years due to shame and distress especially when there is no clean water at school to wash and dry themselves or to go to the toilet at all without disturbance. I believe that this is a new dawn for the education of our girls as they can now come to school and learn comfortably,” Says Siciido.

“I believe that this is a new dawn for the education of our girls as they can now come to school and learn comfortably”

Siccido Mohammed

Hand washing is now habitual and has enhanced hygiene practices among the pupils reducing diseases and increasing class attendance rates. Water gushing out of the taps has given the children nothing but dashing smiles and bright healthy futures.

Students of Yamyam primary using the new taps: This will promote hygiene in the school

NAPAD Marks Global Handwashing Day In Abudwaq And Dollow Districts With Partners

NAPAD marked Global Handwashing Day 2019 by conducting mass handwashing exercises in Dollow and Abudwaq Districts reaching over 300 people. Partnering with the Norwegian Church Aid (NCA), NAPAD conducted a handwashing exercise at Unna Primary School in Dollow District. While in Abudwaq District, NAPAD alongside Medico International and the German Federal Foreign Office (GFFO) marked the event with in a colourful handwashing campaign in Landheer IDP Primary School.

Community members demonstrating proper handwashing in Landheer IDP Primary School, Abudwaq District

With support from its partners, NAPAD conducted the two handwashing campaigns simultaneously during the annual Global Handwashing Day observed on October 15. In Abudwaq District, 140 people were reached while 220 people were reached in Dollow District. School Children, women groups, community elders, and religious leaders were reached in the hygiene promotion outreach campaigns and sensitized about good hygiene practices and positive behavioural changes, including proper hand washing with soap and water.

School Children taking part in the handwashing exercise in Unna Primary School. NAPAD with its partner NCA emphasized importance of clean hands

The handwashing demonstrations conducted by community health workers relayed the 7-step handwashing technique and importance of using soap as an effective, simple and affordable way to prevent diseases. NAPAD field team discussed the importance of hygiene for both health and social reasons and proper disposal of human excreta to curb spread of diseases especially  acute watery diarrhoea and cholera.

School teachers in Landheer Primary School demonstrate proper handwashing with soap and water. Medico International and GFFO supported the campaign reaching 140 people

In areas where water is scarce and there is hardly any running water, villagers especially children suffer from diseases due to poor hygiene. The lack of sanitation, safe water facilities and services and poor hygiene are significant contributors to the high rates of diseases in Somalia. In light of this, NAPAD discussed with the community on the most critical times to wash hands; after visiting the toilet, before eating food, before preparing food, after cleaning childrens’ pot, before breastfeeding, after coughing or sneezing, and after being in contact with animals.

Some of the participants of handwashing exercise in Landheer Primary School

The Global Handwashing 2019 theme of ‘Clean Hands for All’ stressed the need for inclusivity in addressing handwashing disparities. It also focused on the links between handwashing and food- including hygiene and nutrition.

Women group members in Dollow District participate in the handwashing exercise

By marking the yearly handwashing day through campaigns, NAPAD’s advocacy does not end there. NAPAD has been providing Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) interventions for over 12 years reaching over 55,000 people. Currently, NAPAD and NCA have partnered for a WASH recovery project for vulnerable rural communities in Dollow, Gedo Region through construction of a shallow well and establishment of a water kiosk that will benefit 280 households. In addition, NAPAD is working with MI in construction of an elevated water tank and a water kiosk in Inagabiley, Galgadud region.