Preventable diseases caused by inadequate sanitation, lack of clean drinking water and poor hygiene practices are addressed by our participatory, learner-centred WaSH program in the outskirts of Kabul.
Operation Mercy’s WaSH program began in 2012 in a poor district on the outskirts of the city. This project continued for three years until 2015 when we reached our goal of a significant decrease in diarrhoea-related disease across that district, and the time came for us to begin work in a new area. In 2016 we researched and started the Water and Sanitation Hygiene program in a new area in the outskirts of the capital. This project will now run in the new area for the next 3 years, 2017-2019.
Every year people move from remote areas of the country to mud houses on the outskirts of the city to try and improve their lives. As these areas were initially ‘empty’ they have no infrastructure for water or electricity, or health care facilities. In these areas we find very high child mortality rates due to lack of basic sanitation facilities and lack of knowledge about hygiene and disease prevention.
WaSH is a participatory learning program designed to promote and enable improved practices associated with water, sanitation and hygiene. Using a training of trainers (TOT) approach geared towards semi-/non-literate learners, WaSH staff support volunteer community trainers to reach their families and neighbours with life-saving messages about hand washing, safe water and safe faecal disposal. Through role plays, interactive teaching materials and discussions, people are supported to understand the problems present in their community. They identify solutions that are available, affordable, accessible and appropriate, and come to a consensus on how to implement solutions that promote hygienic behaviour, use of safe drinking water and improved household sanitation.