An important part of any public health initiative is compliance and that usually comes with properly educating stakeholders/clients/users whatever you want to call the community you are impacting – on what they are actually complying with. That is why we took three solid days to go to every household in the village of Kpanshegu to explain who we were, what we had been doing in their village for the past week and what they should expect.
The main takeaways we wanted each family to understand were:
– Ademu, Sakina and Jamila were the ones in charge of the water treatment business. We were only there to train them, make sure they had enough supplies to get started and understand how to maintain the business. If the community had questions- these women were fully equipped to answering any questions.
– There are certain precautions needed to take to make sure their buckets were being used properly. Don’t place it on the ground, make sure you don’t get your hands in it, keep it away from children to play with, but always have the water accessible for them to drink etc. . .
– They understood the water was not free and that on opening day they could come to the water treatment center and get their buckets filled up with clean water for a small price.
Aly, Marlena and I took turns with Wahab and Eric walking to each household and explaining these important items to the adults in each home. With over 70 households to visit this was a task that needed to be broken up over three days. Lots of talking for everyone. One person looked after the children in the village who didn’t attend school, one person organized and labeled the safe storage buckets each household was given and one person did the talking. Wahab and Eric did all the talking – since they were translating. Looking after the children might actually be the hardest task out of the three. There were at least twenty five kids ranging from toddlers to at least twelve. Keeping them from breaking the buckets by accident or being too loud for the rest of Team Wahab to talk to the households was a bit of a challenge, but we each got the hang of it in our own way. Marlena was a natural with the kids, but even she got tired after a few hours of entertaining them. There were long days but full of smiles!