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Hand Washing

A new lifeline for Mogadishu IDPs


With support from ECHO, ACF scaled-up its activities in Mogadishu to reach more beneficiaries through rehabilitation and chlorination of strategic water points especially shallow wells, latrine construction, solid waste management through construction of incinerators and hygiene promotion, provision of hygiene and sanitation kits and empowering target communities with knowledge and information on good hygiene practices so as increase community awareness and help them take action to mitigate or prevent WASH related diseases especially AWD, cholera and other diarrheal diseases which are rampant in most IDP settlements in Mogadishu. This ECHO supported projects targeted 85,716 people.

Household visits, focus group discussions and interactive sessions with members of the community. Hygiene messages range from water safety, the need and use of safe sanitation facilities, hand washing at critical times, food, personal and environmental hygiene including diarrhoea transmission and management all aimed at producing sustainable behaviour change.

During the day to day hygiene promotion household visits, ACF hygiene promotion team met Fatuma Osman, one of ACF WASH beneficiaries. Fatuma is 26 years old and lives in Gardi IDP camp; she has been living in the camp for the last one year. She left her home in Buurhakaba, Bay region about a year ago running away from the famine and serious insecurity. They left for Mogadishu because it was the only place they could get humanitarian assistance and there was also some relative peace. “It was the only way I could save my children” she says. Fatuma now lives with her three children in the camp; her husband is not with them as they left him back in Buur to take care of their home and to date she has had no direct contact with him. We hope things will change Insha’Allah and we will go back to our home, she says. They live in a shanty iron sheet shelter built inside a shattered and abandoned concrete structure seriously destroyed due to several years of fighting and shelling in Mogadishu. But she says they are happy for what Allah has provided them.


When asked about ACF WASH hygiene promotion interventions in her camp and how it has impacted their lives she said:

“I was born and brought up in a small rural village in Burhakaba where people are very poor and illiterate. There are no schools there and there is no one to teach people on how to maintain good hygiene practices. I recall young children dying of diarrhea in 2010 and I nearly lost my first born son, its only Allah who saved him. No one knew that poor hygiene was the cause of diarrhea that was killing our children, people were fetching drinking water from contaminated birkeds and using it without boiling. Re-tracing back her memory she says  “this is the first time that I have heard and witnessed that not washing hands with soap/ashes, use of contaminated water and failure to use latrines can cause bad diseases like what I witnessed in my village at that time. Now I know that hand-washing with soap/ashes can save our children’s lives. Most of the mothers in this camp also know this, thanks to you (ACF team) who taught us these critical lessons.


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