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UNICEF-supported sanitation and hygiene initiatives improving living conditions in Uganda

By Proscovia Nakibuuka and Jeremy Green

KYENJOJO, Uganda, 11 November, 2011 - Selegio Kamihanda used to worry a lot about his family getting sick from worms and diarrhoea, but all this is changing for the better, he says, as he waves to his grandchildren while standing in the morning light in his compound.  Selegio, a father and grandfather, lives in the Kyangabukama village, a place set among densely planted banana trees and rolling hills in Kyenjojo District, western Uganda.  The village is among 16 ‘model villages’ in the district that have implemented a community-led sanitation approach for improved hygiene and sanitary behaviours with UNICEF’s support.

Those living in the model villages have rigorously adopted simple but effective sanitation and hygiene practices, like using clean water jugs for hand washing, carefully storing drinking water, harvesting rainwater, and building wooden racks for drying food utensils. And now they are seeing the benefits. 

A marked improvement

“These interventions have improved our health and living conditions,” said Selegio, nodding toward his jug, which pours clean rainwater out of a spout when he pushes down a piece of wood connected to a cord.  “Diseases like worm infestation have reduced drastically, so we now have peace and we are able to do our domestic work.”

Although the district government has not yet performed a detailed analysis of the effects of the model villages, health officials and village residents alike are relieved to see a clear reduction in everyday illnesses like diarrhoea, which is one of the top three killers of Ugandan children under five.

District Health Inspector Paul Kibikyabo has been an instrumental figure in proper sanitation and hygiene practices, traveling to households around the area to check up on implementation of these life-improving initiatives. 

One of the benefits, he says, is that the inspiration to improve sanitation and hygiene conditions comes from within the communities themselves – and any materials, if needed, are locally sourced.

After the success of the programme in Kyenjojo, the model villages approach is now being duplicated in two other districts in Uganda.




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