Focusing on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) to achieve open defecation free status in Traditional Authority Khongoni
This project is designed to improve sanitation and hygiene in Traditional Authority (TA) Khongoni in the Lilongwe district in Malawi. It is expected to reduce the rates of open defection by helping local communities understand the need for and start to use better sanitation practices. Ultimately, the goal is to help the TA achieve open defection free (ODF) status.
Open defecation infects local water sources and causes illness such as diarrhea, one of the most common illnesses in the district.
Why this project is important
In healthcare facilities, the lack of water coupled with poor sanitation and hygiene practices make it much harder to deliver safe, quality care. This puts both the healthcare providers and those seeking care at a significantly higher risk of infection-related illness or even death.
And a shortage of latrines makes women and girls more vulnerable because they cannot manage their menstruation cycles safely, hygienically and with dignity.
Project Strategies and Objectives
Understand the need and build ownership of the project
Project staff are working closely with the District Executive Committees, the District Coordinating Team, and local leaders in TA Khongoni to introduce the WASH project and help build ownership and sustainability.
They will conduct an initial assessment to understand how sanitation services are delivered and how different groups access sanitation and hygiene facilities. This will help identify those who cannot participate fully in the project and put local structures in places to help them participate.
Review meetings are also being held with stakeholders as well as government and other sectors to ensure project activities are running as planned. These meetings are important venues where many different groups of people, including marginalized community members, can express concerns and be active participants in the project.
Help communities address the need for information and education
The project is identifying areas where community groups can provide WASH-related information and interventions to their communities currently and after the project ends. Building this type of capacity involves training group leaders and community groups on community-led total sanitation and other engagement methods as well as on gender equality and gender sensitive programming.
Ongoing work is being done with WASH stakeholders to develop and distribute educational materials that promote ODF status, clean health facilities, and the adoption of low-cost sanitation and hygiene technologies. CPAR is also offering education clinics that use drama presentations on sanitation and hygiene to reach a wider audience. This is an interactive way to increase awareness of the project and encourage behaviour change, such as more use of latrines and better handwashing practices.
Link community members and households with providers of sanitation services
The project is training local masons on improved latrine construction, helping them promote their services in the local communities and connecting them with households that would like to have a new latrine. The project is also supporting the purchase of bulk materials to reduce costs.
Education sessions and workshops are taking place throughout the district to introduce the latest latrine technology and its benefits.
Promote infection prevention activities in health facilities through the clean clinic approach
The project is assessing health care facilities to determine the areas of greatest need and working with the Lilongwe district’s health management team to implement the clean clinic approach, an approach that helps them determine the need for and implement improvements related to cleanliness and infection prevention control in their facility. CPAR will then work with staff from each health facility, including the cleaners, to help them tailor their WASH action plan.
Promote hygiene and sanitation around boreholes
The project is evaluating all of the boreholes in TA Khongoni to assess their condition and how easy they are to access, particularly for people who are marginalized or who have a disability. Community engagement and education are being used to stress the importance of cleanliness and the need to keep the areas around the boreholes sanitary, as per government standards.
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