Last week I helped my Local NGO, EDSAM, conduct promotional hygiene campaigns in three of the four communities we are currently constructing latrines in. On Wednesday we combined my community, Abutia Teti, with another nearby community, Abutia Agorve. On Friday we went to Tsyome Afedo, a community farther into the bush where you can to take a torn-up dirt road to get to. The goal of the campaigns was to get the community aware and hopefully excited about health, sanitation, and personal hygiene. We wanted to involve the youth in community to educate them about proper hygiene. Specifically, we educated them about washing their hands, and using and maintaining a household latrine.
To do this we brought in a brass band and gathered the school children (first grade through junior high) and the band at one end of the community. Then the students marched with the band to the other end of the community. Naturally, random community members joined the march. Many Ghanaians like to break out into dance at the sound music, let alone a brass brand. After the march, everyone gathered under the community-meeting place. In my community it is under two huge trees. Here, municipal environmental health officers spoke to the community. After the talk, the students were served meat pies and refreshments.
For the most part the promotional hygiene campaigns were successful. The community and the students were excited about the march. However, the largest school in my community opted out from joining. The headmaster requested that the Municipal Government send him an official letter before he involved his students. However, the other school’s headmasters did not request a letter, so I have a hard time believe that such a letter was necessary. Unfortunately, there was not nearly enough time for this to happen, so the school did not participate. This annoyed me because we recently built a large latrine for the school. Most of all, I felt bad for the students who had to watch the march from their classroom. The next day I had to answer to some of the students who asked me why they weren’t involved in the march.
Here are some photos from the first campaign: