A Household Gets A Veronica Bucket After Handwashing Sensitization In School

The WASH for Health (W4H) project has been promoting handwashing as a key hygiene behaviour among Ghanaian households and basic school students since its inception in 2015. Increasingly, handwashing has become the new normal lifestyle in Ghana and beyond, primarily as a result of efforts to protect against the COVID-19 pandemic. The World Health Organization continues to emphasise handwashing as one of the sure ways to prevent the spread of the virus. As a result of continuing efforts from W4H involving sensitization and education, a girl in Dambai named Isabella influenced her mother to purchase a Veronica bucket (a handwashing facility invented by a Ghanaian retired nurse, Veronica Bekoe, made of a bucket affixed with a small tap at the bottom) for their home.

Impact of Handwashing Sensitization

According to Isabela’s mother Patricia Haruna, a local food vendor, “Isabela has been educating us on the importance of handwashing as taught her in school. She has been telling us to wash our hands at the critical times of the day and the need to get a handwashing facility especially during the pandemic to serve as a reminder to constantly wash our hands.” Patricia adds that this has motivated her family to buy a veronica bucket for the family.  As a result of her occupation, she is handling food and receiving money from several different people every day. “Handwashing with soap under running water makes my hands clean to cook and serve people with food,” she says.

Handwashing Sensitization in Schools

Isabella Okemagye is a 13-year-old Junior High School pupil of Dambai Holy Rosary Roman Catholic Junior High School in the Oti Region. Having practiced handwashing with soap under running water in school, she now encourages her parents to buy a veronica bucket at home for her siblings and parents to also practice handwashing and make it a regular habit in their daily lives. According to Isabella, “I have been taught that is important to wash my hands at critical times of the day including after visiting the washroom and before eating. Due to the coronavirus, I have recently been taught to wash my hands after touching surfaces.”        

WASH for Health Project – Institutional Latrine Construction

The WASH for Health (W4H) project has been providing latrine and handwashing facilities to schools including Dambai Holy Rosary Roman Catholic Junior High School in the Krachi-East district in the Oti Region. Thanks to the project, they are happy with three 4-seater latrines that were constructed in July 2017. As part of the sustainability strategy of the project, the pupils and staff are trained on how to maintain the facilities. The school was also sensitized on key hygiene behaviours with emphasis of handwashing. The most recent sensitization training was conducted for the 119 students who were authorized to be in school during the COVID-19 pandemic.