ACTED Jordan supports since 2011 Syrian refugees who fled their country torn by conflict to found refuge in camps and host communities throughout the Irbid and Mafraq governorate of Jordan, on the other side of the border. Since then, ACTED has been providing support in the sectors of food security, water, hygiene and sanitation, shelter, livelihoods and support to sustainable development initiatives in the field of agriculture and access to employment opportunities.
Over the years, the NGO became a key stakeholder in the field of water, hygiene and sanitation in the camps. When it comes to massive displacements of populations, hygiene and sanitation can represent significant difficulties, and quickly turn into a major health crisis. From infrastructural works to hygiene promotion and awareness raising activities, each single step is crucial in ensuring safe sanitation conditions in crisis settlements.
Most notably, the teams worked over the year 2016 on the construction of the wastewater network of Zaatari refugee camp, improving overall sanitation by ensuring the connection of households to the wastewater network and the treatment of grey waters.
Only during the month of October 2017, ACTED’s repair and maintenance team in Zaatari answered 224 calls related to private toilets’ sanitation. The maintenance, upgrade and construction of private toilets represents indeed a crucial component of their work. During the last months 1,070 private toilets have been upgraded in Zaatari to minimum sanitation standards and the team aims to reach the target of 1,350 toilets by the end of the year.
Each year on 19 November, the international community celebrates World Toilet Day, an occasion to highlight positive achievements towards sustainable sanitation and to spread important awareness messages. ACTED Jordan didn’t miss the occasion this year again, and decided to celebrate this day with children of Zaatari refugee camp. Most of the young participants to this event have been living in the camp for years now. Raising awareness on issues that are not so obvious in such a setting is crucial to ensure a safe sanitation environment.
Toilets are a very important, though not so glamorous nor particularly funny topic… So what is the best way to deliver a message to children on such a topic? Transform it into a game!
The event was organized by an ACTED hygiene promotion team, which traditional mission is to share best hygiene practices like handwashing, storage of drinking water and deliver hygiene-related messages as to avoid the rise and spread of diseases. For this occasion, the hygiene promotion team created some handmade toilet and pipes samples that served for the game purpose. Through this activity, which combined education, entertainment and fun, the children could highlight the good and bad practices related to toilet usage and cleanliness, and to the maintenance of plumbing network.
The children were showed how one should properly wash their hands after cleaning toilets, and participated in a quiz game involving key messages and learning. “I have learnt today how to always keep the bathrooms clean and that we always need to wash our hands,” said Ahmad, one of the young participants. All in all, this game enabled the children to better understand the health risks related to improper toilet maintenance, and to apply easy things like washing hands.
Nour, a 12-year old Syrian girl, was very excited about taking part in these activities, and once back in school she would like to show her classmates what she learnt today. Touch upon this topic through games and plays made the children more conscious of risky behaviors in terms of hygiene and sanitation, and more informed about the right behaviour one should maintain, whether adult or child, when it comes to keeping toilets clean, whether at home or at school.
Children are the best ambassadors of sustainable sanitation environments, acquiring best hygiene and sanitation practices and further spreading them in their environments. Let’s keep on working all together to achieve good sanitation for all!