WASH Training | Behind The Scenes
When we introduce MountainChild to a new area of the Himalayas, WASH training is first on our agenda to carry hope. The sanitation and health aspects of the training have proven an effective way to promote lasting change in these rural areas and give us many opportunities to develop relationships and plan for a better future.
But what does it take to conduct a WASH training? Though we have worked hard to fine-tune this process, it still takes many hands and many weeks of planning to run the program. We interviewed one of our health workers to hear just how much effort goes into a successful WASH training! Check it out!
MC: What does planning a WASH program look like? What first steps do you need to take to make it happen?
HW: First, we research the area we want to go to. We connect with local leaders to learn about the population and the specific needs of the village. We interview locals to learn about the conditions of their homes, medical challenges, water source and availability, normal daily life habits, and sanitation. From there, we analyze the data and build a WASH program tailored directly to their needs.
MC: What is included in a normal WASH program?
HW: We do WASH for families, including puberty training and WASH for kids as well as general WASH training. We provide access to a water system if there isn’t any by building tanks, reservoirs, water pipes, or taps. We then distribute water filters and train on proper, clean drinking water. And finally, we always follow up with additional training and hygiene kit distribution.
MC: What other kinds of training are offered besides General WASH?
HW: We also offer Maternal Health Training. Like WASH, these programs follow a sequence of initial training, hygiene kit distribution, and follow-up! In Maternal Health Training women learn about family planning, menstrual cycles and how to care for their bodies, newborn care, breastfeeding, and weaning.
MC: What are the challenges staff usually face when conducting a WASH training?
HW: Life in the village is busy. Every season has its own need for villagers to work. Factoring that with the many days it takes us to travel these villages, gathering groups of people can be challenging. And each village can have its own language and dialects! So communicating can be difficult without knowing local languages!
MC: What kind of tangible impact does WASH have?
HW: We never see a complete transformation in the initial follow-up. Busy-ness and ignorance can make a behavioral change among villages difficult. It often takes years of encouragement and follow-up to see a lasting change. But we are committed. There are the occasional villagers who are very grateful and want to see a change in their home. They are the ones who influence the rest of the community.
Access to good drinking water, sanitary and hygienic environments, and simple medical facilities are basic rights for many people around the world. But unfortunately for the Himalayas, these basic rights are considered luxuries. Every year, poor sanitation and hygiene take many Himalayan lives. This is why MountainChild exists. We want to help change the story. Through the programs like WASH, we can build a foundation of hope.