Hand-Washing Is Child’s Play September 23, 2014  by      

By: Leann Bankoski, CFK Executive Director

Good health starts with good hygiene. And sometimes, the simplest solutions are the most effective—like washing your hands.

For two years, CFK has been working with Ronald McDonald House Charities to improve the practice of hand-washing in Kibera. Knowing that convenience is often related to establishing good hygiene habits, we’ve installed easy-to-use hand-washing stations in the homes of thousands of Kiberan families with children under 5 in the home.

Along with hygiene education materials and sensitization offered by local community health workers, the hand-washing stations are proving to be quite successful in improving health. And for the children in the home, the stations are often treated as a new toy—a curious novelty to be explored.

On a recent visit to Kenya, I walked through the community with Yunus, CFK’s Community Outreach Program Officer, and Francis, a Community Health Worker, as they checked in with families that recently received hand-washing stations. As a Community Health Worker, Francis emphasizes the importance of hygiene and monitors the health progress of families he visits. I felt fortunate to be invited into these community members’ homes, unannounced, to hear their stories and learn how they were making use of the stations. I’m eager for you to meet them as well! Below, you’ll find a few pictures from the visit.

Eunice and her 2 1/2 month old, Vincent. Eunice lives with her husband and 2 sons, ages 4 years and 2 1/2 months, in an incredibly small space. There is only room for a double bed, one chair and a bench against the wall. She is shy and quiet with a lovely smile. She said her 4 year old was incredibly excited when the tap was installed, wanting to use it constantly as he thought is was a new toy. This sort of enthusiasm has helped their whole family ensure that they all use it regularly.

Eunice shows off how she uses her tap.  Her tap is uniquely disguised as a side table. Because her home is quite small, she has stacked up her water containers and put a lace tablecloth over them to hide them a bit. Eunice shared that she prefers to boil her water rather than use chlorine to clean her water, as she thinks the chlorine makes it taste funny. She is clever and uses the remaining charcoal from her fire after she’s finished cooking to boil the water.

Yunus and Francis pose with Dorcas. Dorcas, her husband, and 2 young sons are big Liverpool FC fans. Posters and stickers adorn all the walls of their small home. Dorcas, like Eunice, said her boys think the tap is a lot of fun to play with and they love using it. They used to wash their hands in a wash basin, but now they use the tap.


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