Multimedia and interpersonal baby WASH and hygiene promotion interventions bringing changes

in Gashamo Woreda, Somali region

By Kalkidan Gugsa
29 July 2020

It was the drama series on hygiene practices broadcasted via Somali radio programme that impressed Amina Mohammad to be a role model in 02 Kebele of Gashamo woreda. “Listening to the drama is entertaining” said Amina and she waits for each episode eagerly every time. “The messages transmitted through the drama and other talk shows helped me to acquire a lot of new knowledge, which I didn’t have before. For example, yes, I used to wash my hands with water in the past before the radio talk shows started, but I didn’t know how to do it effectively, with soap and the critical times to wash my hands. Now I know the times handwashing with soap is essential and when and how to wash a child’s hand. I also learnt how to dispose child’s faeces safely, use of potty and create a hygienic play area for our children. I know how to protect my children from hygiene and sanitation related illnesses. I have been recognized in my community as a model mother, as I have started practicing good hygiene behaviors in my family and share the messages to my neighbours and relatives.”

She also mentioned that she became an active participant of the social mobilization activities organized by UNICEF in partnership with Population Media Center (PMC). The campaigns were attractive and catchy and easy to understand.

Amina told us “it was not the norm to wash hands with soap before preparing meals. As mothers we also failed to wash our hands with soap after cleaning children’s bottom. We didn’t believe that children’s faeces would harm anyone. Now it becomes clear to me after I have got the messages via various platforms.”

Amina Mohamed
©PMCMedia, 2019
Amina Mohammed Yusuf, pictured with her 3-year-old daughter, Gashamo Woreda, Somali Region
Amina Mohamed
©PMC Media, 2019
Amina’s conveniently placed hand washing facility

Amina is very grateful for the radio talk show messages. She feels empowered adhering to hygienic sanitation practices by keeping her surroundings clean. She states that by cleaning our surroundings we can avoid flies; as flies carry germs from faeces and other dirty places to food, thereby transmitting disease and causing cholera.

Amina also pointed out that “the messages I received from the radio talk show and the social mobilization campaigns has changed my practices drastically”.

She also mentioned “I placed water and soap close to the latrine allowing all family members to wash their hands after visiting the toilet. Not only my family but also guests that visit us practice hand washing after using the latrine and before meals.” She also articulated that “as a mother I can influence my family to practice good hygiene behaviors and there by lead a healthy life.”

Amina said, “Now I am trying to share the knowledge I gained with my friends and neighbours”.

The radio shows are part of a communication initiative developed by UNICEF in Ethiopia since 2017, which uniquely focuses on Baby WASH – the hygiene surrounding babies and infants. The promotion includes the training of health extension workers to promote positive hygiene behaviours through listening and discussion groups, including hand hygiene, safe play areas, the use of potties and safe child faeces disposal. In Somali region, the trial initiative has so far reached about 1,693 people (323 men, 638 women and 732 children), and is expected to be scaled up to reach many more families in the next year.