On October 15th, the SSH4A programme celebrated Global Handwashing Day. Together with stakeholders from the WASH, education and health sectors and government and non-government partners from 17 working districts in Nepal. The motto of the day was “Our Hands, Our Future”,
The emphasis of SNV’s Sustainable Sanitation and Hygiene (SSH4A) programme in Nepal on handwashing with soap has allowed an additional 650,000 people to have access to this facility in their homes since mid-2014. Handwashing with soap is directly linked to improved healthcare for families and is critical in reducing diarrhoeal incidence in children.
Project experience has shown that behaviour change communication (BCC) campaigns which respond to real barriers can help to motivate mothers, children, school kids, family members and the wider community to change their habits. Rigorous implementation through all possible channels (village fora, health sector, education sector, local leaders, religious institutions, house-to-house visits, public announcements) are keys to success.
Formative research in the southern plains of the terai has shown the widespread belief that soap is only needed if hands look dirty, feel greasy or smell. Otherwise, water does the trick of cleaning. Importantly also is the lack of social support from mothers-in-law is visible in their criticism of their daughters-in-laws for using “too much” soap. Mothers, on the other hand, are keen to keep their children healthy and handwashing with soap at critical times is a way for them to do so. Addressing these factors has been a core part of the SSH4A BCC campaigns.
The SSH4A programme is supported by UKAID through the SSH4A-Results Programme, DGIS (Netherlands) and DFAT (Australia) through the Civil Society WASH Fund.