Part 4 – Neat and clean is important

September 2023

Reviewing the last topic about Child Rights, children have made changes. During the follow up home visit on Child Right, children excitingly shared with me what they learned in previous IBT (Issue Based Training) session and how they have shared with their family and friends. Even their parents said that their children have started to help them in the household, some have started to follow the daily study routines they made and some that they are showing increased obedience and responsibility. The parents expressed their gratitude towards us, as they were glad seeing a change in their children. Personally, I had a good feeling as these changes were in line with the commitments they had outlined while making their action plan. I feel proud that children from my group are taking their words and converting them into action.

Due to the widespread of Malaria, Lymphatic Filariasis and other communicable diseases in the community, we collectively decided to conduct our second IBT session on Sanitation. This choice was made as many of these diseases are caused due to improper sanitation.

Before getting into the topic, I asked children what they already knew about sanitation. They shared their knowledge based on previous experiences and what they had learned from their homes, communities, and schools. After listening to their inputs, I explained that sanitation is taking care of hygiene and cleanliness of not only ourselves but also the environment; it’s about understanding the inter relations and affects. Although they had heard the term “sanitation” before, but when I explained its importance in detail, they told me that they now realize it is a very serious issue, needing their attention. We also discussed about various communicable and non-communicable diseases, how they are they transmitted from one person to another, and the preventive measures against these diseases.

The children shared with me that they had taken lightly on sanitation. But after the IBT, they realized that it is extremely important, especially because of the diseases spreading in their community. Not just malaria and lymphatic filariasis, but also in the context of the global COVID-19 outbreak, which has affected the entire world and might have been reduced with proper sanitation.

We also had a conversation about taking care of our personal hygiene, in-house hygiene, and environmental hygiene. I focused on management of different waste product of our household. Biodegradable wastes, such as food scraps and paper can easily be decomposed and turned into compost manure. Non-biodegradable wastes like plastics and glasses which takes thousands of years to decomposed can be buried under a ditch. The key message the children took away was that all types of waste harm the environment and all forms of life that depend on the Earth. It also reflects how seriously we take our responsibility.

It was now time for the moment the children had been waiting for: The GAME. We played a game, which energized the environment. After the game, we reviewed our discussion. The children said that they had appreciated the opportunity to learn about sanitation in detail and understand it’s importance.

The children said that they would take the learnings seriously and made a commitment make it a change in their lives. Furthermore, they made their individual action plan for maintaining personal hygiene, proper waste management and to share this information with their friends. I will monitor their progress during my next home visit.