Archives pour la catégorie WASH

A woman’s voice against cholera

In Chad, women are discrete except when it comes to raising awareness.

Ababa Abakhar is a well-known preacher in the community of Am-Timan, in the East of Chad. She decided to use her notoriety to raise awareness on the cholera outbreak and good hygiene practices to stop the propagation of this disease.

In the confine of her house, Ababa talked intensely of her commitment in fighting cholera. “I want to tell my sisters to take their courage with both hands and start cleaning their house and the street in front of their house so that we can leave free from diseases like cholera.

Ababa Abakhar, 45, is a highly-regarded figure in Am-Timan. Teaching women Koran, she is followed by more than 400 women who attend her sermons each Sunday. “Am-Timan is my home, and people know me” she reminds us naturally.

When the outbreak was declared, Ababa was already in great position to take part in the efforts to combat the spread of cholera. A position she endorsed quite early at the onset of the outbreak.

I went to see and visit the women who were sick in both the Cholera Treatment Unit (CTU) and their home. It helped me realize the urgency of the situation and I decided to include this issue in my sermons to women.”

With the trust of women in her community, Ababa supported health workers to pass the right messages to families, and more particularly change at-risk attitudes and behaviors which at first could appear to clash with ancient traditions.

It was hard for families to understand that they could not get the body back right away, like we are supposed to in our religion” explains Ababa. “I talked to the families to help them understand the risks of contamination. After talking to them, they understood that the body needed to be treated first and then it would be given back for burial without any risk of contamination.”

But for Ababa the main challenge lies in a much deeper issue, the one of hygiene. “You don’t need to wear glasses to see the hygiene issue in Am-Timan. Cholera is also due to this lack of hygiene. I really want to use my notoriety to make women change their ways so that this disease never comes back to Am-Timan again. The only solution is for the community to realize the situation so that they can act on it.”

UNICEF Chad-2017-Fafin-2.jpg

In getting communities mobilized and effectively improving hygiene behaviors, women are key. “The health of a child depends on his mother” explains Djiwerie Oussmane, president of ANNASSOUR, a women organization working in the district of Am-Timan. “If she understands how to prevent cholera she can have the tools necessary to assure the well-being of her child. Mothers are the core of a family.

Ababa was one of the 100 women trained by UNICEF’s partner ANNASSOUR to raise awareness of women in the community on children’s rights, and in relation to the seriousness of the cholera outbreak.

In our tradition, woman like Abbaba are very respected by our community because of their religious education and knowledge” continues Djiwerie. “When they speak out, everybody listen. If we want to get our message across we need to go through these canals.

UNICEF Chad-2017-Fafin-3.jpg

The support of Annasour helped Ababa to go beyond her sermons, and record a prevention message at the community radio “Darbadja”, explaining cholera transmission and prevention.

I want women to be aware that cholera is caused by bad hygiene practices and that we can easily avoid it if we take some measures like washing our hands with soap, sweeping our house, sanitizing the space where we sleep and treating the water before drinking it.

In the hand of a well-known women as Ababa, radio became an even more powerful mean to reach out to those other women in more remote and rural places who do not always have access to water points that can be found in the city.

Using the radio is a good way to reach women, especially the ones who are leaving the city to work in the fields. They need to treat the water they get from the pond or the river. It is important for those women to bring water purifier packets with them.”

Ababa’s commitment towards the well-being of her community is inspirational and shows the significance of religious leaders’ mobilization in the interest of reaching everyone, especially every woman.

***

Since the beginning of the epidemic in the Sila and Salamat region, on August 14th 2017, more than 1,200 cases have been identified and 71 death registered. Thanks to the Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department of the European Commission (ECHO) and SIDA (Swedish International Development Agency), UNICEF has supported community radios, religious leaders and women organization to raise awareness on cholera contamination and prevention, and prevent further escalation of the epidemic.

 

Publicités

Un nouveau flux qui apporte de l’espoir

Grace au soutien d’US Fund, l’UNICEF a construit 3 pompes d’eau pour une population de 4000 personnes

Par Diguera Azoura

« J’ai prénommé ma fille Radiyé qui signifie ‘j’accepte’ en langue arabe,  car j’ai accouché aisément seulement quelques heures après avoir bu la première eau qui sortait de la pompe. A travers ce prénom donné à ma fille je veux illustrer mon enthousiasme à commencer une autre vie  avec la nouvelle pompe à eau,» lance fièrement Khadidja qui tend ses bras pour faire sortir sa nouveau-née de son couffin.

Khadidja's removing her baby (Radiye) out of her cradle
UnicefChad/Azoura/2017

Du haut de ses 31 ans, cette jeune maman, à l’allure très mature due aux différentes péripéties de sa vie, nous confie être une femme comblée depuis quelques jours. Nous remettant sa fille,  un beau bébé de 13 jours, elle continue ses récits sur le passé qui était sa vie avant l’implantation de la nouvelle pompe, située à quelques 300m de chez elle.

« Avant, j’étais obligée de faire au moins 5km pour aller puiser de l’eau dans le Ouadi[1] le plus proche, et cela même étant presqu’à terme. Cela me prenait plus de 2h pour faire l’aller-retour ». Chose qui n’est pas sans peine pour cette maman de 7 enfants âgés de 2 à 16 ans, qui devait alors enfermer les plus petits avant de quitter pour sa corvée quotidienne. « Ça me fendait le cœur à chaque fois que je les enfermais seuls dans la maison, mais je n’avais pas le choix et je le faisais à contrecœur, elle explique un peu contrariée.

Khadidja fetching water from a jar at her house
UnicefChad/Azoura/2017

Khadidja vit depuis 6 ans à Haya Zouhour, une périphérie de la ville de Guéreda qui vient de bénéficier d’un financement d’UNICEF pour un château d’eau potable. Depuis son arrivée dans cette localité, sa vie n’a pas été des plus aisées nous confie-t-elle. « Au tout début, je me permutais avec mes deux enfants (âgés de 10 et 12 ans) pour puiser de l’eau dans les Ouadis ». Mais depuis presque quatre ans, Khadidja supporte à elle seule cette lourde charge journalière qui s’ajoute à d’autres corvées ménagères, car elle a décidé de laisser ses enfants en âge d’aller à l’école, étudier.

En effet, les trois enfants de Khadidja dont l’ainé, Hamid, qui a 16 ans nous expliquent comment ils devaient faire le voyage entre leur village (Haya Zouhour) et leur école, localisée à plus de 6km dans la ville de Guéreda. Il lance ensuite avec une mine saumâtre « Sinon avant, on partait puiser de l’eau dans le Ouadi avec ma sœur Hawa (14ans), et on faisait 1h à l’aller comme au retour, sans compter au moins 2h passées sur place à être dans les rangs pour pouvoir puiser seulement 60 litres parfois ».

Khadidja Adam and her baby Radiye
UnicefChad/Azoura/2017

Depuis presque deux semaines, toutes ces difficultés sont devenues juste des mauvais souvenirs pour la famille de Khadidja mais aussi pour la plupart des familles du village Haya Zouhour. C’est le cas de Koubra, la voisine de Khadidja qui nous dit comment elle avait perdu un enfant suite à la consommation de l’eau des Ouadis. Après un long soupir, la tête baissée – camouflant surement des larmes -, elle ajoute « on ne savait pas que l’eau des Ouadis contenait des bactéries et ce, malgré son mauvais gout argileux et sa couleur sombre. J’ai compris cela quand j’ai vu ma fille de 11mois mourir dans mes bras suite à des diarrhées aigues».

Comme pour la soutenir, Khadidja passe sa main dans la paume droite de sa voisine Koubra et lui dit: « Une goutte d’eau suffit pour créer un monde dit-on, et le nôtre vient d’être récréée grâce à cette nouvelle pompe d’eau potable».

Beneficiaries leaving the water pump station N'2_ and water tower at their back
UnicefChad/Azoura/2017

Au Tchad, près de 60%[2] de la population n’a pas accès à l’eau potable dans les zones rurales ; avec plus de 38% de la population rurale qui risque de maladies dues à la consommation d’eau non potable. Le château et sa pompe immergée hybride (thermique et solaire) installée par UNICEF il y’a 1 mois à Haya Zouhour, desservira près de 530 ménages composés d’environ 8 personnes dans un rayon de 5km, permettant ainsi d’éviter à près de 4000 personnes les maladies hydriques. Cette installation permettra aussi à plus 300 enfants d’âge scolaire de continuer leur scolarité sans avoir à les mitiger à cause de l’eau à puiser.

[1] Lit asséché d’un cours d’eau désertique.
[2] EDS-MICS2014-2015

 

 

A New Stream of Hope

With the support of the US Fund, UNICEF has built 3 water pumps for a population of 4,000 people

By Diguera Azoura

« I named my daughter Radiyé, which means ‘I accept’ in Arabic, because I delivered the baby easily only a few hours after having drunk the stream of water coming out of the new pump. With this first name given to my daughter, I want to illustrate my enthusiasm and gratitude as we will be able to start another life thanks to the water pump”, proudly says Khadidja who stretches out her arms to get her newborn out of baby’s cradle.

Khadidja's removing her baby (Radiye) out of her cradle
UnicefChad/Azoura/2017

At 31, and although she might look older, perhaps because of the vicissitudes of her life, Khadidja recognizes to be filled with joy, especially since she has gained easy access to water – as the new water pump is only 300 meters far from her house. Giving us her daughter, a beautiful 13-day-old baby, she continues to tell me stories from the past, when she had to walk long distances to get water, the elixir of life.

« Before, I was obliged to walk at least 5km to get water from the nearest Wadi[1], and that even when I was pregnant and about to deliver. It could take me by then more than 2 hours for the round trip”. Something that is not easy for this mother of 7 children aged 2 to 16 years, which would then lock the smallest ones at home before leaving for her daily chores. « It would break my heart every time I locked them up in the house alone, but I had no choice, » she explains, a little saddened.

Khadidja fetching water from a jar at her house
UnicefChad/Azoura/2017

Khadidja has lived for 6 years in Haya Zouhour, a village in the periphery of Guéreda, which has received UNICEF funding for a drinking water tower. Since her arrival in this locality, things have not been easy for her life, she told us. « At the beginning, I swap with my two children (aged 10 and 12) to fetch water from the Wadis. But for almost four years, Khadija is bearing alone the heavy daily load in addition to other household chores, as she has decided to let her school-age children continue their studies.

Indeed, Khadidja’s eldest son, who is 16 years old now, still remembers the journeys to fletch water to a water pump located 6 KM far from his village. « Back then, we would go to fetch water in the Wadi with my sister Hawa (14 years), and  spend 1h to go and 1h to come back, without taking into account the fact that we had to queue at least 2h to be able to get only 60 liters sometimes ».

Khadidja Adam and her baby Radiye
UnicefChad/Azoura/2017

For almost two weeks now, all these difficulties have become just bad memories for Khadidja’s family but also for most of the families in Haya Zouhour. This is the case of Koubra, Khadidja’s neighbor, whose child died from a water-related disease. After a long sigh, her head lowered – probably hiding tears – she adds: « We did not know that the water of Wadis was contaminated and contained bacteria, and this despite its bad clay taste and its dark color. I only understood this when I saw my 11-month daughter dead in my arms following acute diarrhea.”

Trying to be supportive, Khadidja passes her hand over Koubra’s right palm and says: « A drop of water is enough to create a world they say, and ours has just been recreated thanks to this new water pump ».

Beneficiaries leaving the water pump station N'2_ and water tower at their back
UnicefChad/Azoura/2017

In Chad, almost 60%[2] of the population does not have access to safe drinking water in rural areas; with more than 38% of the rural population at risk of diseases due to unsafe water. The water tower and its hybrid (thermal and solar) immersed pump installed by UNICEF in Haya Zouhour will serve nearly 530 households –of 8 people each, within a radius of 5km, thus preventing close to 4,000 people from falling sick due to waterborne diseases. This facility will also enable over 300 school-aged children to focus on their education as they won’t have to cover long distances anymore to fetch water.

[1] Dry bed of a desert river

[2] EDS MICS 2014-2015