Vitol-RSPN Promotion of Community Environment and Household Hygiene through Local Support Organisations

Background

In Pakistan total forest area is only 5.2 percent and reforestation is not keeping pace with the growth in population. Deforestation and problem related to solid wastes management are a major cause of environmental degradation in the country. Environmental degradation exerts significant pressure on human health. Exposure to air, water and soil pollution, to chemicals in the environment, or to noise are causing cancer, respiratory, cardiovascular and communicable diseases, as well as poisoning and neuro-psychiatric disorders. Other diseases caused by environmental hazards are diarrhea, lower respiratory infections, various forms of unintentional injuries and malaria. According to World Health Organization (WHO) nearly one quarter of all deaths and of the total disease burden can be attributed to the environment.

In Pakistan, only 63 percent of the population have access to drinking water while sanitation facility is available to 65 percent of the population. Most of the population having access to safe drinking water and sanitation is living in urban areas and situation in rural areas is very dismal, hence they suffer from water and sanitation borne diseases. Mortality rate for Children under the age of 5 in Pakistan is 94 deaths per 1000 children. Diarrhea diseases caused by poor water and sanitation situation are the main cause of mortality for children under the age of five. According to UNICEF annual report 2009, more than 200,000 children of less than five years die due to diarrhoea in Pakistan.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province of Pakistan, forested area is rapidly decreasing due deforestation. About 50 percent of the people of the rural areas have no access to safe drinking water and improved sanitation. There is no system of solid waste management in rural areas and most schools do not have any or have very poor latrine facility which is the major cause of school dropout rates especially for the female students. Most of the schools located in rural areas do not have a system of solid waste management. A majority of the population, especially the rural population, has limited knowledge about importance of clean environment and personal and household level hygiene and as a result rural population especially women and children in KPK are facing sever health consequences.

Negative consequences of environmental hazards can be avoided by educating the communities about health implications of environmental degradation and promoting the plantation at the community level. Diseases caused by the poor water and sanitation conditions can be prevented if local communities have knowledge about desired behaviours for hygiene. For this purpose there is need to work with local communities to take initiatives for environment friendly practices and promotion of personal and household level hygiene through a community based mechanism. Given the scenario, the RSPN with support from the Vitol Charitable Foundation initiated a project titled “Promotion of Community Environment and Household Hygiene through Local Support Organisations” in the Swabi district of KPK.

Introduction

The overall strategy of the project is to reach out to the target population through the platform of the Local Support Organizations Network (LSON) in district Swabi with the objective of building their capacity for sustained behaviour change in improving environment and hygiene related issues. Through the project the LSON would identify 30 model villages; 2 each from 15 LSOs in which project interventions will be implemented with an understanding that based on success of the project in these villages; the methodology can be thereafter replicated and thus sustained through the LSON.

Project has two key components; a) Promoting community environment friendly practices and b) promoting personal and family level hygiene practices. As a part of first component

  1. 30 environmental management committees (EMC), one in each village, will be formed.
  2. Two members from each committee will undergo a two days training in environmental friendly practices. These trained members will orient other members in the committees based on the learning they gained.
  3. Each EMC will be responsible for establishment of collection point for solid waste in two schools in each target village to promote of clean environment practices.
  4. Students and teachers of the schools will be motivated to adopt environment friendly practices by organizing one event on positive practices in each target school.
  5. Each committee will organize a clean village campaign in their respective village. During this campaign, the community will be provided information on the consequences of environmental degradation on human beings and they will be given information on proper management of solid waste and water conservation.
  6. Each EMC will also ensure the plantation of 3500 forest plans in their respective village to maintain biodiversity and provide catchment for soil and water conservation.

The second component of the project is promotion of hygiene related positive practices.

  1. In this regard village level Hygiene Promotion Committees (HPC) will be formed in each of the 30 target village.
  2. Each HPC will undergo an orientation on the concepts of hygiene, desired positive behaviours for personal, household and family level hygiene and management of hygiene related activities.
  3. For the promotion of hygiene related practices in the community, each HPC will nominate one Community Lady Health Campaigner (CLHC) and one Community Male Health Campaigner (CMHC). A three day training event will be organized for CLHC and CMHC to train them regarding interactive community awareness session on hygiene promotion.
  4. CLHC and CMHC will be responsible for conducting awareness sessions with men and women in their target village. HPCs will extend their support to the CLHCs and CMHCs in organizing and supervision of the awareness sessions in the community. Each CLHC and CMHC will conduct 8 sessions in a month, for a period of 3 months, with women and men. For each session at least 20 participants will be invited. In total each CLHC and CMHC will conduct 24 sessions with 480 participants. CMHCs and CLHC will be paid a compensation of their time for awareness activities for a period of three months.

To support the awareness activities for environment and hygiene in school and communities, Information, Education and Information Material previously developed and used by the RSPN will be adapted and translated into the local language. Counselling cards on importance of hygiene will be printed for use by the CLHC and CMHC during the awareness sessions. Leaflets on positive hygienic practices will be printed for dissemination among the target communities.

© Rural Support Programmes Network. All Rights Reserved | Designed By Web Wide Media