February 1st, 2013 | by Chris Hufstader
Photo: Holly Pickett/Oxfam America
Sadio Danfakha washes her hands with a tippy-tap, a low-cost, low-tech plastic container used to promote hand washing in places with no running water. Oxfam and our partner AKAD distributed tippy-taps along with soap and bleach (to treat drinking water) as part of our humanitarian program to help people suffering from a dramatic food shortage in 2011-2012.
When I met Danfakha in Senegal last October, she said she had been working closely with Wally Cissokho of AKAD, who is in charge of promoting good hygiene practices as a means to avoid diseases. “We teach people how to use the hygiene kits, and sometime I show them how to use the kits when Wally is not there.”
Danfakha says that when people starting using the tippy-taps and treated water there were fewer cases of diarrhea in her village, Biatilaye. “We now wash our hands before eating, and we wash our clothes more now. Before, it was hard to get soap to wash our hands, but then Wally came and it is now easier to get soap.”
She says she decided to help promote better hygiene in her village as a volunteer. “I have been going with Wally to distribute the hygiene kits. I do it just to help, because we are all neighbors, and I like to help others.”
“It was not a long time ago that my husband passed away. So I am taking the opportunity to help other people instead of sitting home all alone in the house.”
August 29th, 2012 | by Elizabeth Stevens
Stevens recently returned from the Kolda region of Senegal which – like much of the western Sahel region of Africa – is experiencing a severe food crisis. This is the third of four blogs from the trip.
Penda Balde and her husband Djibril Sylla are living in the grip of the Sahel food crisis. Their home, which they share with their children and grandchildren, is in Fafacourou, one of countless villages in Senegal where farmers lost their last harvest to the erratic rains of 2011. Their stocks of food ran out many months ago.
Residents of Fafacourou carry home hygiene kits—a collection of materials designed to help them protect their families' health. Photo: Holly Pickett/Oxfam
Which is why they welcomed a recent distribution of soap, bleach, and scrub brushes.
If you live in a place where clean drinking water and soap are everywhere, and where a case of waterborne disease is merely an inconvenience—easily treated and cured—it may be hard to wrap your mind around why people experiencing hunger and malnutrition would see hygiene activities as a matter of urgency. But for Balde, it is obvious. “If you don’t respect hygiene, you can get diarrhea. If you have diarrhea, you become weak.”
And Balde and Sylla can’t afford to be weak.
Read the rest of this entry »
April 22nd, 2011 | by Chris Hufstader
Adults have to watch their heads as they walk from sandy school yard into classrooms at the Thiaroye Primary School in Pikine. Photo by Jeff Deutsch/Oxfam America.
Talk about a bad first day at a new job: Labisse Diop, head teacher at a primary school outside Dakar, Senegal, has a story few could top. At the beginning of the school year last fall, he showed up for work to find his school completely flooded. “I was really surprised…I said ‘this water can’t be removed, it’s too deep…’ and I asked myself why others who worked here before had not addressed the situation.”
Staff at the Thiaroye Primary School, in the city of Pikine, were already at work, pumping the water out of the school and into a drainage channel and away from the neighborhood. But they needed fuel to run the pumps – and they got it from an organization called Eau-Vie-Environnement (Water-Life-Environment, EVE for short). “Thanks to EVE, they made it easier by bringing fuel,” Diop says. Read the rest of this entry »
September 10th, 2010 | by Emily Drees
I just wanted to share some of the recent photos I’ve seen coming in this week from Pakistan, where more than 21 million people have been affected by the recent flooding.
Above, a young girl carries a water bottle on her head while taking refuge in a graveyard with her family in Thatta, about 62 miles from Karachi in Pakistan’s Sindh province. While international funding for the crisis has stalled in recent weeks, the number of people displaced by the floods continues to rise each day.
Photo: Jane Beesley / Oxfam
Oxfam and our partners have launched a rapid-relief effort to reach more than one million people with essential aid. Some of that aid takes the form of hygiene kits, like the one shown above. Each hygiene kit includes 15 bars of soap for personal use, soap for washing clothes, two towels, a cloth that can be cut into strips for sanitary protection, a plastic kettle for washing, and two buckets with lids.
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