Health and hygiene education

Improving hygiene and sanitation behaviour

People living in poverty stricken areas suffer poor environmental health due to unsafe drinking water. They also have poor hygiene behaviour and lack of sanitation due to rapid and haphazard urbanisation leading to crowded and unhygienic settlements. Countries suffer massive financial losses through health expenses on diseases that could be prevented very easily.

The vulnerable population, especially women and children, are being targeted by Practical Action to improve their health and wellbeing. Specifically, the focus is on improving access to safe drinking water and guaranteeing access to better sanitation facilities. Additionally, the dissemination of better hand washing practices and other hygiene behaviours leads to a reduction in water-borne diseases and ultimately a reduction in health costs.

A lack of clean water and sanitation can mean that diseases spread, especially sickness and diarrhoea. This leads to children being absent from school and affects their ability to learn. And without education it is hard to break out of poverty.

The provision of safe water and sanitation facilities in schools creates a safe and healthy physical learning environment, benefiting both the education and health of school children. 

Educating school children on basic hygiene and sanitation is very important.  Children are generally eager to learn as well as to copy each other and can instil and promote positive behavioural change in other children.

Children also have important roles in their household, carrying out many of the chores related to hygiene.  They are in a good position to drive change in their families and communities.

These children are also the parents of the future who will pass on the good hygiene practices that they have learned to their own children.

Investing in children school sanitation and hygiene education has many benefits for example:

  • Promotes effective learning.
  • Increases enrolment of girls.
  • Reduces incidences of disease and worm infections.
  • Promotes environmental cleanliness.

Total sanitation in Kisumu

Children living in the slums of Kisumu grow up surrounded by human waste. We are improving access to clean water and hand washing facilities, to reduce diseases such as dysentry and typhoid.

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