Written by Marleen New, Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations
A latrine with a hand washing station.
Before the handover ceremonies began yesterday we visited the homestead of the Chair-lady of the group, Royoa Shabwandwe, who lives with her husband, nine children and two grandchildren. We were impressed with how much the Shabwandwe family had been able to accomplish in just six short months, and we were equally amazed at how simple technology can make a world of difference — especially for health and hygiene:
- Enclosing a small bathing area with thatch walls provides privacy and actually encourages family members to bathe more frequently. Imagine having to perform this ritual out in the wide open outdoors. How tempting would it be to put it off until tomorrow? And tomorrow. And tomorrow.
- A similar thatch enclosure can be used as a latrine and provides an alternative to the open fields close by. We learned a lot from our partner, Village Water, about how the common practice of using the bathroom "in the bush" contaminates streams and rivers (where a majority of families get their drinking water) by run-off. A village elder admonished the group, "We drink what we leave in the bush."
- Adding a jug of water and bar of soap on a small shelf right outside the latrine encourages hand washing immediately after, which keeps diseases from spreading.
- Building a shoulder-high raised rack to dry your dishes on in the sun will keep them from being contaminated by dogs or goats.
Simple, simple steps to make dramatic improvements for the health of your family. Check back later this afternoon to read how a simple innovation called the Tippy Tap is also making a world of difference in the lives and health of families.