On our recent trip to refugee camp Goz Amer for i-ACT 19, I wrote a blog called “We’re Doing Something Right”. During this trip we conducted the one year assessment of Little Ripples and my blog entry reported some of the responses we received from the Little Ripples mothers that we interviewed.
From these interviews, I shared a quote by one of the mothers, Mariyam. The quote reflected her child’s improved hand-washing habits since attending Little Ripples: “After she goes to the bathroom, she cleans her hands, and she likes to be more clean now.” I remember being so happy to hear this, even just from one mother.Washing hands has shown to be one of the most effective and cheap ways to stop the two largest killers of children in developing countries: diarrheal diseases and acute respiratory infections. It’s also a key component of the Little Ripples curriculum. But for such a an important habit that is simple and cheap, hand-washing with soap still seems to be a difficult practice to promote. Behavior change is never easy. So to hear Mariyam say that her child cleans her hands after going to the bathroom meant that the Little Ripples teachers and the hand washing curriculum was being promoted and reaching at least one student!
Well it turns out the hand washing curriculum is reaching more than one Little Ripples student. It’s been a couple months since we completed the Little Ripples one year assessment and the results are in. Reports of basic hygiene practices among the students including washing hands after using the latrine and before meals increased. Of 134 Little Ripples students interviewed, the percentage who always wash hands after using the latrine increased from 59% at baseline to 84% at follow up, and the percentage who always wash hands before meals increased from 71% to 97%.
These are significant changes, and moving forward we will continue to incorporate the same hand-washing curriculum as we expand Little Ripples as well as share this approach with other organizations and stakeholders. If you’re just as excited as I am to read about the impact we’re having with Little Ripples, then help us launch three Little Ripples Ponds in camp Goz Amer this Fall 2014!
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