From the Field

One Thousand Healthy Homes

Published December 15th, 2016 in From the Field

**As part of Lifewater’s Vision of a Health Village strategy for sustainable change, field staff work with families to certify Healthy Homes in remote villages that formerly lacked access to safe water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH).

Each certified Healthy Home means a family that enjoys safe water, good sanitation, and hygiene tools and practices that keep them healthy.

Each Healthy Home is evidence of a family that has come together to work for a better future. It is parents that want their children to have the education and opportunities they didn’t. It is children who are a valuable part of a team committed to each other’s health. It is women who are demonstrating their ability to lead and sustain positive changes in their home and community. It is the end of preventable, water-borne diseases and indignity.

Every single one is a reason to celebrate, but today we’re celebrating one thousand!

One thousand certified Healthy Homes in Ethiopia,  Uganda, and Cambodia.

One thousand households that have done the work.

One thousand families that have found health and hope.

A Healthy Home starts when a member of Lifewater’s staff begins to engage the community around the home. Community influencers who are early to adapt healthy WASH practices are trained to become WASH facilitators. These facilitators work alongside Lifewater staff to teach each household about the value of WASH and the tools and practices that will help them get healthy. Families learn:

 

 

Although these families live in different regions of the world they all have accomplished something amazing – Healthy Home status!

1) To keep water safe from collection to use. Clean water can be contaminated when it’s kept in a dirty container or if it’s left exposed. Families take the steps to keep their water safe, like keeping their collection containers clean and keeping their water covered.

2) To build and maintain a latrine. Keeping waste away from people is a good thing. It significantly reduces the risk of spreading diseases through contact with water, flies, food, mouths, and skin. Lifewater helps communities design safe, effective, dignifying latrines from things that can be found locally. Even the poorest households can afford to build their own latrine – and fix it easily.

3) To use a dish drying rack. Drying washed dishes thoroughly in the sun (and away from animals) helps keep food and water clean.

4) To wash their hands. Families are shown how and when to wash their hands, including after using the latrine, before handling food, and before and after caring for children. Most choose to build a tippy-tap, which is a simple device that uses jugs and string – things available everywhere – to wash hands with soap without using too much water.

5) To keep a clean compound. Many households consist of several small buildings, and it’s important to keep these buildings and the grounds around them free from waste and clutter. Often this means keeping animals out of the area. This practice not only inhibits the spread of disease, but it helps families feel proud of their home.

 

Lifewater staff register every Healthy Home through our Android-based data monitoring system that is updated in real-time. They make sure each Healthy Home has all five elements and then certifies the home with a sticker.

When a family demonstrates that it is doing these things, a Lifewater staff member will visit and certify the household as a Healthy Home, complete with an official certificate. Once a few homes are certified, others see the effects and want to participate, and eventually a Healthy Home becomes the community’s standard. When visiting the communities with Healthy Homes, you will see certificates proudly displayed on windows and doors.

One thousands healthy homes means thousands of mothers, fathers, grandparents, sisters, brothers, and babies who are healthier, prouder, stronger, and hopeful for a future where they can live abundant lives. There are thousands more coming over the next few years in Cambodia, Ethiopia, and Uganda. You can see photos of the first thousand on the project pages of our website. Check back each week to find more and celebrate with us!

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