Hygiene Clubs give children a fresh outlook

Monday 17 July 2017

The tips are simple, but, if followed through, they can effectively guarantee a healthier life.

Dozens of children come to listen to this message. At Save the Children’s Hygiene Clubs in the Bekaa valley, they come to receive advice on personal hygiene, health and environment. The one-off sessions are delivered to a new group each day.

As they take their seats around the table in the big hall, they start with sketches that depict their ideas of being clean. For some, it means washing their hands and brushing their teeth; for others, it is to eat clean food and drink clean water.

Once the sketches have been done, children move to take part in a demonstration of the six steps to be followed while washing their hands. They watch and learn from each other as they take turns in repeating the process.

Next is the puppet show, which picks up where the last session left off. This is usually the most engaging part of the day with the message communicated with entertainment. Children’s attentiveness is usually tested through tricky questions, but they often manage to figure out the correct answer.

‘’Is it OK to keep the water tap on while we wash our hands?’’ the puppeteer asks the audience.

‘’No!!!’’ shout the children in agreement and with much enthusiasm.

Supported by Reckitt Benckiser and delivered by Save the Children’s Water Sanitation and Hygiene team, the Hygiene Clubs tackle a range of topics, including hand-washing, water management and waste management. Across towns in Bekaa, the club has reached over 700 children.

Water-borne diseases are common in Lebanon. Waste management is an even bigger issue, with the country struggling with solid waste collection and dumping.

There are many objectives that Save the Children is trying to achieve through the Hygiene Clubs, including making the environment a safer place for children and ensuring they understand why recycling is important.

‘’We see the difference in the way children behave and acquire certain habits,’’ says Jamila Ramadan, Save the Children’s Hygiene Officer.

‘’When we deliver our Hygiene Promotion sessions, there is a message and call for change in some unhealthy habits that children might be inadvertently following.

‘’We try to understand, for example, how they get rid of solid waste or how they use water. When we meet them thereafter, we notice the difference that our message had made.’’

Rami*, 9, sums up what he learned from the day.

‘’It is not just about washing our hands; we learned how to do it in a way that makes us cleaner and healthier.’’


Visit our gallery to see more photos from the activities here: https://lebanon.savethechildren.net/media/photos

*Name changed for protection.