Refugees Trained In Hygiene Promotion In Uganda Settlements

The government of Uganda has come up with a plan to avoid conflicts within refugees in Uganda by electing their own leaders within the settlements to control conflicts.

Refugees Trained In Hygiene Promotion In Uganda Settlements
Some of the RWC leaders in Palorinya refugees Settlement performing a drama on Hygiene [Photo| Paul Night]

 By Paul Night

MOYO, 03 January 2018 [Gurtong]-The Refugees Welfare Committee which has been introduced is meant to spear head activities within villages in the camps and report to the relevant authorities.

The leaders have been trained on various fields in order to be actors of the projects of government and the agencies programs of which one is the sanitation program which is the major concern now in the refugees’ sites.

The Refugee Welfare Committee (RWCs) leaders were trained as hygiene promoters in Budri and Ibahwe zone I and II.

They have now resorted to conduct dramas and dancing to create awareness on the dangers of poor hygiene in the settlements.

Joseph James, a 50 year old in Ibahwe Zone I, Palorinya refugee settlement in Moyo district is among those who observes the importance of maintaining hygiene.

In his visibly swept compound, there is a drying rack and a chain for drying clothes. Meters away, he has constructed a latrine with a hand washing facility, locally known as tippy tap. The small jerry cans and soap used to promote hand washing have been provided by LWF.    

“When we arrived here, the sanitation was not good. People were defecating everywhere. These people have done a good job to teach us proper hygiene and we also perform drama during gathering in order to educate fellow Refugees about the dangers of open defecation in the bushes,” says James.

The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) an IOM implementing partners has sensitized the refugees in the areas of water, sanitation and hygiene.

With funding from the European Union Humanitarian Aid, LWF through IOM is sensitizing the refugees about sanitation and hygiene with a greater focus on household latrine construction.  
The sanitation campaign carried out through hygiene promoters also includes messages on malaria prevention, safe excreta disposal, and hand washing practices and safe water usage.

James explains that after the sensitization, he has also constructed a small latrine for his children since they cannot utilize the one for adults.

“LWF did an assessment in the settlement after which they supported us in constructing the toilets by giving us logs and slabs. They have also given us poles, nails to fence off the facility,” he added.

Buckets were also provided to ensure that latrines are washed regularly. Demonstrating to us how the tippy tap works, James said he has also trained his family to always wash their hands and keep the home clean. As a result of the hygiene promotion, James says none of his family member has fallen sick due to poor hygiene or even suffered from diarrhea.

He adds that LWF has also trained them to construct rubbish pits to dispose off the garbage. James is not alone but he is among 109,600 South Sudanese refugees who have benefited from hand washing facilities.

Rose Mary Keji, 36 says  whose house is just a stone throw away from the motorized water system said “IOM is playing a big role to provide us with water and Water is life”, she said.
She added that there is a team of people selected to take care of the facilities so that they are not misused.

At the time of the visit, Keji’s children had fetched three big jerry cans of water plus two small ones.

The average household latrine coverage in Palorinya stands at 11 per cent while communal latrine coverage is at 44 per cent. .

Martin Ulego, WASH officer LWF said communal latrines are being decommissioned as a way of preventing diseases.

“LWF is continuously encouraging households to construct individual latrines and is providing brick molds to enable the refugees making bricks”, He said.

Ulego adds that some of the refugees have now come up with their own household latrines and also each family has been given sanitation tools like axes, ropes, plastic slabs, buckets and spades for excavating the latrines.

“We are proving them (Refugees) with other materials to aid them to sink individual latrines.” Ulego said.

He also noted that regarding access to water in the settlement, Ulego said the refugee’s access it through bore holes, tanks and taps.

Through European Commission’s Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid department (DG ECHO) and the United Nation’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), IOM has intended to carry out the installation of a piped water system in Ibahwe, Morobi Zone 1 and II in Palorinya.

Water quality monitoring will continues across the settlements targeting over 90 per cent positive results at household level.


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