In order to effectively teach children and their families’ better sanitation and hygiene practices, a cultural change must occur.
A change that can often take up to a decade. This is why we commit up to 10 years of continuing WASH education and system maintenance to each of our project schools. To make WASH education fun and valuable, we established 15-member water clubs at every school. Each summer, the World Water Relief hygiene coordinators in Haiti and the Dominican Republic meet with the clubs once per week to teach proper WASH practices and introduce new topics. Last summer the focus centered on Cholera, intestinal round worms and waterborne parasites.
Every $1 invested in clean water and related hygiene education gives an economic return between $3-34 per person and reduces the estimated 443 million school days lost each year due to water related illness.
We serve the southwestern region of the Dominican Republic, near the city of Barahona, and the central and southern areas of Haiti. These areas are often overlooked or ignored by governments due to their distance from major cities or marginalized because of their demographics.
Diarrhea is the 2nd biggest killer of children under 5 years old and every minute a child dies from water related illness.
That is why we focus on children, since they are especially vulnerable to the impacts of poor sanitation, water and hygiene. When they are unhealthy, they often miss school, fall behind, and lack a proper education. But with our Community Hygiene Campaign, we go a step further to involve the communities at large and educate them on the benefits of proper handwashing, cooking with safe water and keeping their neighborhoods free of standing water, litter and utilizing proper latrines.