Borneo

Winning the fight against germs one hand at a time

12th April 2018

The act of handwashing - a simple yet effective method of preventing the spread of potentially harmful bacteria from insufficient hygiene practices. Tackling the spread of such bacteria can significantly reduce the rate of diarrheal illness in communities and mean less days missed from work or school and a better quality of life.

In the final week of the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) project in Kampung Teliduson, the Raleigh volunteers took on the task of running an awareness raising session for the children in the community all about handwashing at key times and how to stay well in the fight against germs.

At the beginning of the WASH project in Kampung Teliduson, it was identified that 99% of homes had no direct access to water. The Raleigh Borneo spring expedition, in collaboration with the community and our project partners PACOS, set out to address this. We helped provide the infrastructure for improved sanitation and access to safe, clean and reliable water. This included building rainwater collection units, a gravity fed water system and tippy taps across the village.

The improved access to water and sanitation facilities has meant the community no longer need to embark on multiple walks each day to their nearest water source. It also means the community members have designated handwashing facilities.

As with all of our WASH projects, Raleigh Borneo tasked our volunteers to design and facilitate sessions to foster a greater awareness among the community of how healthy hygiene practices such as handwashing at key times are important for maintaining good health. This awareness raising is critical to accompany the infrastructure built to ensure the community are engaged in how to use it and aware of what the intended impact is.

Our volunteers in Kampung Teliduson took to the challenge. They conceptualised and developed ideas for an awareness raising session to engage the children within the community. They chose to focus on two main areas: what are germs and how do you get them, and how to protect yourself against them to stay healthy. Children are an effective target group for nudging positive behavioural change as their demographic are often more likely to adopt new behaviours and demonstrate these to their families at home.

The word was spread across the village encouraging parents to bring along their children. When the day came, the community arrived in force. The children excitedly approached the kindergarten in which the volunteers were staying.

See below for the highlights from the session:

International and host country volunteers worked together to engage the children with their session, all about what germs are and how they are spread, spoken fully in Malay.
After their session on germs the volunteers demonstrated a catchy song they had made up to help in remembering the best moves for achieving clean hands.
After their session on germs the volunteers demonstrated a catchy song they had made up to help in remembering the best moves for achieving clean hands.
The children focus intently to copy the techniques demonstrated.
The children focus intently to copy the techniques demonstrated.
Once the technique was learnt and hands were lathered with soapy bubbles it was time to fully rinse.

International and host country volunteers worked together to engage the children with their session, all about what germs are and how they are spread – all in Malay!

Words and photography by Communications Officer Rebecca Raab.


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