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In Woulmassoutou, villagers come together to promote handwashing
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Handwashing is an individual action. But when the majority of a population washes their hands, it has a positive effect on the health of the entire community. On the contrary, when a person doesn’t wash his/her hands, they can become a vector for disease. In order to make handwashing a habit, people must be convinced of its efficacy, learn the best technique, have soap and water available and, of course, be encouraged. That is what villagers from the Sahel region in Burkina Faso demonstrated with the support of the USAID|REGIS-ER project.
Female villagers from the village of Woulmassoutou in Burkina Faso (Sampelga commune, Sahel region) were worried about the frequent outbreaks of diarrheal diseases, stomach pains, and malarial fevers. Within their “mother-to-mother” (MtM) support groups, they had learned that washing your hands with soap at critical moments is crucial to prevent certain diseases. Only an extensive mobilization and commitment would be able to shift the entire village to overcome this issue. But how could they find a way to raise awareness and catalyze true behavior change across their community?
They decided to partner with the men active in the village’s husbands’ school to advocate for change. Together they requested support from the community health and nutrition Quality Improvement (QI) Team, because it seemed the most appropriate group to tackle this overall problem.