Article

Community-led hygiene project reduces health risks in IDP camp

As most congested settlements for internally displaced people (IDPs), the Rays qabobe camp in Somalia is plagued with poor hygiene practices like substandard faecal waste handling and improper use of latrines. In an effort to reduce water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH)-related diseases in IDP camps, ACTED Somalia is offering participatory hygiene promotion campaigns.

Improving camp conditions to lower health risks

The Rays qabobe camp houses approximately 350 families who have been displaced from various regions across Somalia due to drought and conflict. The IDP families living here lack both access to safe water and knowledge of proper handwashing practices. Camp life is also marked by improper handling of food and inadequate sanitation facilities. These poor hygiene and sanitation conditions, combined with the high concentration of people living in Rays qabobe, increase exposure to diarrheal diseases and compound the vulnerabilities of the IDP community.

Community-led effort towards prevention of diarrheal diseases

To reduce the risk of illness while promoting the dignity of camp residents, ACTED has been conducting hygiene promotion awareness sessions in the camp through the European Union-funded Durable Solution for IDPs and Returnees in Somalia (DSIRS) project. Through household visits and presentations at community gatherings and schools, ACTED is disseminating key behavioural change messages to help prevent the spread and transmission of diarrheal diseases. Hygiene promotion sessions help communities understand Diarrhea transmission routes and modes of interrupting the spread, thus reducing the number of people affected.

In addition to hygiene promotion, the DSIRS project contributes to the sustainable integration of IDPs, Somali returnees and refugees in Somalia, targeting 4,800 households in Galkayo North and 2,400 households in Galkayo South.

The community needs to be sensitized regularly on such preventable diseases that are widespread at the IDPs settlements.

Anisa, the chairwoman of Rey’s qabobe IDP camp in Galkayo north, Puntland state

To ensure the sustainability of this intervention, ACTED has trained community hygiene promoters from the IDP camp to continually raise awareness and ensure the hygiene and sanitation messages create a lasting impact for the community. The community hygiene promoters use role-play, demonstrations, group discussions and IEC materials to disseminate the messages while ensuring the communities own the process.

This program is funded by the European Union.

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