HAND WASHING – BEHAVIOURAL CHANGE

Once the tools have been provided an intensive support phase will commence over an 18 month period, to establish new patterns of behaviour which will embed hand-washing techniques with soap and water.

This includes the Ghana Health Service and Education Service providing teachers and nurses to teach the children the importance of hand-washing. Head-teachers will engage village Chiefs and Elders to support the community-wide message. Teams of school children will be tasked with designing and brightly painting the toilet blocks and water tanks with promotional hand-washing messages. Educational and promotional materials including t-shirts, teaching aids and Glo Germ™ will be used to generate awareness and understanding of germs using an ultra-violet light to show each child how germs collect & spread.

The children will be targeted through a ‘Bog Watch’ initiative as recommended through consultation with the local head-teachers. This will be an engagement tool where schools initiate a rota system to encourage hand-washing via the use of classmates acting as hand-washing monitors.

To further enhance commitment to the project, children and members of the local community will be chosen as ‘star’ actors to appear in a hand-washing drama/film. This will be re-enacted during a school assembly or shown using a projector and a white sheet. This creates an exciting and memorable experience for the whole community as such events are very rarely held.

Planned outputs and impact from our ‘Clean Hands Saves Lives’ Project
The project commenced in August 2012 with an initial pilot phase which established rain water harvesting projects in seven rural schools based in communities in poverty. Over the next three years (2013-16) we expect to have achieved the following:

• 24 schools in rural Ghanaian villages provided with toilet blocks and veronica bucket sinks to improve sanitation and reduce the rate of diarrhoeal deaths (three schools targeted in the first year and seven in the following three years).

• Up to 8,400 children taught the importance of hand-washing with soap, providing behavioural change for a longer term impact.

• An increase in hand-washing to 70% of pupils in schools we have targeted (In the UK, 10% of the population washing their hands with soap after going to the toilet).

These outcomes will result in a reduction in death and illness as well as supporting a reduction of the number of school days missed by children who would otherwise be away ill.