“My neighbour and I agreed to help each other with the construction of our latrines”
Habimana SEMARAMA and Louise NSENGIMANA live in Kabaya in Ngumano village, they are married and have 8 children. They live off agriculture.
Louise: “Before the start of Tearfund’s activities in our village, we were doing things that we thought were normal. We did not know that the behaviours we were accustomed to were the cause of the diseases our children caught. We did not know the 5 moments of hand washing. For us, and especially me as a woman, I did not know that I had to wash my hands at specific times. When I would come back from the field, if I found my child crying I would not wash my hands before breastfeeding. In the family, we mainly washed our hands after eating.”
How did things change?
Habimana: “My wife first receive training on hygiene and sanitation. Every time I came home, she would report to me what had been said during the training session. I noticed my wife’s behaviour change. I was happy and one day I decided to follow her to a training session. During the session, we talked about a hygienic latrine. I tried to compare it with mine, I realized that my family was using an unhygienic latrine. No door, no ash, no handwashing device. At the end of this session, my wife and I decided to build a new one. It was at the time when tools were being distributed to dig latrine pits. My neighbour and I agreed to help each other with the construction of our latrines. We started with his and then it was my turn.”
What has changed?
Louise: “After learning about the pattern of transmission of diseases and the cost of medical expenses, I put into practice the lessons learned and for the moment I find that my family does not spend as much money on medical care as we used to. “
Habimana: “What is still challenging at the moment is access to water. It is sometimes difficult for us to have enough water in the house, but I always tell my children, when they come back from the spring, to check if there is water in the handwashing device. But with the construction of the tap stands and the adduction work in Kabaya that is underway, we hope to have water within 30 meters of the house soon. It will improve the hygiene conditions of our family when the water begins to flow! “
Since 2014, the Sustainable WASH In Fragile Contexts (SWIFT) Consortium has been working to provide access to water and sanitation and to encourage the adoption of basic hygiene practices in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and in Kenya.
Various partners implement SWIFT’s actions in both target countries, in collaboration with governments as well as water providers, including utilities. The consortium is led by Oxfam, and includes Tearfund and the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) as global members.
The SWIFT programme is funded by UK aid from the UK government under a Payment by Results (PbR) contract.