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School clubs spread message of hygiene across South Kordofan

© UNICEF Sudan/2006/Carrillo
A young student at Kagar-Al-Mak School in South Kordofan, Sudan washes her hands to demonstrate her knowledge of key hygiene practices.

By Lorena Carrillo

SOUTH KORDOFAN, Sudan, 29 September 2006 – The students in  the School Hygiene Club at Kagar-Al-Mak School in the Nuba Mountains of northern Sudan are quite busy these days. They are producing drama and songs with key messages on hygiene and sanitation that they will perform for about 600 other pupils and teachers.

“We received new information about how to protect ourselves against cholera and diarrhoeal disease, so now we are focusing on producing drama and songs on these topics,” says Besamat, 16.

The School Hygiene Club is composed of 20 students, both boys and girls, ranging from 10 to 16 years of age. They are in charge of looking after the school’s water and sanitation facilities, and spreading hygiene messages among their peers – an important role in a region where poverty and conflict have made access to safe water and sanitation especially challenging.

Friends teaching friends

“Since the establishment of the School Hygiene Club, the school looks clean and healthy,” says Asha, 14.

© UNICEF Sudan/2006/Carrillo
A group of female students at Kagar-Al-Mak School act out a drama on the importance of good hygiene practices. Watching them are members of the School Hygiene Club.

“We are always checking the small girls at the school. If we see them not washing their hands after using the latrines, we speak to them and wash our hands together,” says another club member, Nafisa, 12.

“We need to look after the latrines and hand pumps, keep them clean and working, and teach our friends about how to use them properly,” adds Nafisa’s friend, Layla.

“This is a very good group. They are the leaders of the school, always moving around to improve things,” says school Director Abrahaman Mohamed.

“We are responsible for keeping this working,” says Ali Mohamed, the main supervisor of the School Hygiene Club. “The girls are taking this seriously. They are also spreading the messages within their families and neighbours in their communities.”
Access to water and sanitation

Last year, UNICEF and its partners helped to establish 16 School Hygiene Clubs in South Kordofan. So far in 2006, another 10 have started across the state.

In addition, nine school latrines have been built, increasing access to sanitation for 3,600 children, and three hand pumps have been drilled and installed at schools to provide safe drinking water for 5,200 pupils.

On a broader scale, UNICEF – in partnership with the government and local communities – has helped provide 42,500 more people with access to safe drinking water in the state this year. Another 2,000 have new access to improved, sanitary means of waste disposal.

These and other initiatives represent a concerted effort to improve hygiene and health for the children and families of South Kordofan.



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