Community members value the importance of WASH campaign during pandemic

The Society for Urban and Rural Empowerment (SURE), during a recent survey at several villages, said community members have lauded the NGO’s initiative to hold several Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) campaigns in the past as it has proved to be useful during this ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

SURE is a partner NGO of NESFAS under the REC-funded project ‘No One Shall Be Left Behind’ initiative which started in 2018. Altogether, there are 28 project communities from across Jaintia Hills under the project.

A field coordinator teaches children the different handwashing steps

Pasqualina Lamare, project co-ordinator of SURE, said they have to innovate and use some familiar nursery rhymes to try and inculcate the habit of washing hands amongst young students at schools in the project areas. “COVID-19 pandemic happened and NESFAS along with its partner NGOs had to change strategy because visiting the communities was impossible. Young men and women from the community were appointed as community facilitators and all activities resumed with almost every trainings and demonstration done online or via telephone calls,” she added.

Somja Phawa, one of the field coordinators (FC) working under the project, said since mid-2018 all the FCs went all out to teach the community about hygiene and hand washing which is part of the WASH campaign. It was only when the Coronavirus pandemic hit the state that people began to realise the importance of WASH campaign. She added, “Community members would recall the demonstration of hand washing that was taught to them and realised that they took it very lightly when it was taught to them.”

Children practice handwashing techniques

Also, as part of the COVID-19 strategy plan, the CF taught community members the importance of social and physical distancing during each home visit made. Coriniki Sloang, another FC, said another activity that is included in the response strategy plan is to engage Self Help Groups and Participatory Guarantee Systems in making masks and these were distributed to the community.

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