Sanitation promotion and hygiene education help convince users of the importance of using the latrines and, on the other, encourage them to use hygienic practices, such as handwashing with soap. These educational activities can also improve the practices of cleaners and toilet block operators.
IN PUBLIC PLACES OF COMMERCIAL ACTIVITY AND IN DEPRIVED NEIGHBORHOODS
Kabuyonjo operates in such areas. The objectives of sanitation promotion and hygiene education messages in public places of commercial activity and deprived neighborhoods are as follows:
- to increase the use of toilet blocks and so reduce open air defecation;
- to inform the users of hygiene practices (handwashing with soap, in particular) and how to use the facilities;
- to encourage users to pay the tariff, where there is a charge for the service, by explaining how the money collected is then spent.
Methods of getting these messages across include;
Mass communication (notices, radio, television and newspaper adverts) where messages circulated are aligned to the real motivations of users to change their habits (as such, speeches on sanitation and hygiene are not always suitable as they are not enough to bring about long-term change in certain behaviors).
Local communication is also a very effective strategy. Home visits and discussions with toilet block users enable more personal messages to be passed on and permit users to ask questions.
In all cases, regardless of the awareness-raising strategy employed, this strategy must relate to the services actually offered. An awareness-raising campaign lauding the benefits of handwashing with soap will have little impact if the public toilets contain neither soap nor washbasins.
Kabuyonjo also pushes for hygiene and sanitation education in schools and health centers.
In schools, awareness-raising activities and training can take several forms. The teacher is, however, key to promoting hygiene due to their status as an educator. Teachers are, therefore, able to promote hygiene messages through the school syllabus. It is possible to develop real educational projects with pupils, or even with their families and the community. Tools for this purpose are available from UNICEF or WHO and these can be put in place with the support of the relevant national and decentralized ministerial services.
IN HEALTH CENTERS
Hygiene promotion is crucial in health centers for both medical staff and patients. Raising awareness of hygiene specific to the medical environment can be achieved by explaining health care protocols to the medical teams. This can then be further reinforced by regular visits from administrative officers who ensure that the protocols are being respected and who can continue the awareness-raising campaign. Some health services and NGOs offer awareness-raising sessions not only to heath workers, but also to patients and visitors. Although passive, notices placed around the building and adapted for both medical staff and patients are another means of raising awareness of hygiene practices that can supplement training and awareness-raising sessions. Lastly, the theoretical hygiene messages circulated in health centers need to be aligned to the actual (and occasionally ineffective) practices of medical staff and their patients.