On October 27th 2017, Gikomero sector celebrated the International Handwashing Day facilitated by USAID Twiyubake Global Communities and its implementing partner in Gasabo district African Evangelistic Enterprise (AEE). The event under the theme: Gukaraba Intoki Ejo Hacu Heza accommodated 500 residents from Rwimiyange village. The Executive secretary of Gikomero district, Gonzague Rwamucyo, welcomed the community living in Rwimiyange village and introduced the representative of the district, the Ministry of Health (MOH) and USAID Twiyubake implementing partners AEE and Global Communities. “Thanks to our hands, we are able to generate income. This is why we should be encouraged to think over our handwashing habits”, he explained.

In a role play presented by USAID Twiyubake beneficiaries, a family portrayed different hand washing habits until a Community Health Club (CHC) member visited them and invited them to join the CHC. The CHC members showcased how they teach the community using the education cards developed by the Ministry of Health’s Community Based Hygiene Promotion Program. After the theory, a USAID Twiyubake volunteer conducted a public hand washing demonstration.

Melanie M., is one of the CHC member. The 45 years old mother of 8 children is a USAID Twiyuke beneficiary and her main attention goes towards the activities in the hygiene club. The club is composed of 80 participants living in one village. She

is attending the hygiene club every Tuesday from 3 to 4 pm. “I love hygiene, especially as a mother. Hygiene is key in child raising. I already knew a lot about it but now I know more”, she explained. The CHC motivated her to put a roof on her toilet. She now has a tippy tap, a drying rack and a rope to dry the laundry. She has a kitchen garden to raise vegetables. Thanks to the program’s saving group she was able to buy two chicken and one goat.

Vivine Tuyizere, WASH Officer at Gasabo district appreciated the community dialogue on handwashing best practices. She encouraged the village leaders to conduct household visits to support the educational activities from the CHC.

In his speech to the participants, Zaccharie Rubaravu, MOH representative in charge of the Community-Based Health Promotion Program (CBHPP) and the guest of honor, explained: “As you have observed from the role play, we all are used to wash hands but not properly. If your toilet is clean, you drink clean water and apply all the messages we heard today, you prevent 99% of diseases as you will prevent the transfer of bacteria, viruses and parasites, which would otherwise contaminate water and food. This contamination is a major cause of diarrhea. To the parents, you may punish your children because they bring bad scores from school, but the food you feed them may be contaminated and lead the child to have diarrhea leading to a loss of large amounts of water, salt and valuable nutrients. In most of the cases parents are responsible for stunting in their children as malnutrition is often a result of poor hygiene”.

CHC are part of an integrated and participatory action plan to fight diseases caused by poor hygiene and sanitation in communities. The clubs which are established in each village are composed of 50 to 100 members. They sensitize the community on hygiene best practices using the CBHPP education card developed by the Ministry of Health and helping most vulnerable people to build toilets.The club members of Rwimiyange village are currently building one toilet. Another seven households are awaiting to get support to build the toilet soon. In the districts of Gasabo, Burera and Musanze, USAID Twiyubake through a consultancy and in collaboration with local authorities assessed WASH behaviors, trained 764 CHC facilitators, developed and provided training materials and supported the creation of 4,594 CHCs.

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