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05.11.2020 Feature Article

Kayan Community: Nine-year-old Elizabeth Uses Tippy Tap to keep Safe in the Era of COVID-19

Kayan Community: Nine-year-old Elizabeth Uses Tippy Tap to keep Safe in the Era of COVID-19
05.11.2020 LISTEN

The Upper West Region has become a model in the GoG- Unicef WASH intervention with the Nandom Municipality declared as ODF. Also, the success of WASH interventions in the Nadowli/ Kaleo District, Wa West District and the Jirapa Municipality is highly commendable.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, behaviour change campaign has heralded the prevention protocols. From the market square to the worship center; school to the workplace; private residence to business centers; open space to social gathering, the culture of installing handwashing facilities became the norm.

Before the outbreak of the COVID- 19 pandemic, the GoG- Unicef WASH projects which started in 2010 became the dominant initiatives in view of the Community-Led Total Sanitation Approach, where communities are taken through a conscious effort to appreciate their own sanitation challenges – open defecation and to take collective actions or steps to addressing them.

This has led to hundreds of communities in the Upper West Region attaining Open Defecation Free Status. The efforts of most rural communities to prioritising the use of handwashing facilities were reinforced, especially in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic. They have not only been encouraged to wear the nose marks as preventive measures, rather practice regular hand washing.

The concept of the CLTS approach which focused on cost efficiency and indigenous knowledge and materials to construct latrines and handwashing facilities has led to the use of sticks, robe and gallons to design tippy tap for handwashing. The campaign for behaviour change is very much appreciated in the Kayan community that has not only become ODF; children demonstrating complete behaviour change.

Elizabeth Dery is a nine-year-old girl that have gotten the understanding of the coronavirus pandemic and believes that regular hand washing would not only keep her hand cleans, rather will reduce or prevent the risk of getting feco- oral diseases and the COVID- 19 viruses. She said her father has constructed a toilet facility for the household- one for women and the other side for men and so defecating in the bush is very shameful.

Kayan Community is one of the ODF communities in the Jirapa Municipality. It became ODF certified by the Regional Interagency Coordinating Committee on Sanitation (RICCS) in the month of September, 2020. The community has demonstrated complete behaviour change with all households owning and using latrines and handwashing facilities. Women, Natural Leaders, men, and children are all demonstrating complete behaviour change.

She demonstrated to the amazement of WASH officials the proper ways of handwashing. We must draw lessons from little Elizabeth Dery and continue to keep safe by wash our hands regularly.

Author; Tahiru Lukman

Youth Activist, Dev’t Consultant & Pan- African Author

Email: [email protected]

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