Community Health Promotion Initiative in Juba, South Sudan
April 30, 2009
This project is a continuation of a 2008 project that uses sport and play as an effective learning tool to strengthen the capacity of youth groups, local sport councils and local CBOs.
Juba is a capital for both Central Equatorial State and Government of South Sudan. Like other places in South Sudan 21 years of civil war has destroyed the whole infrastructure subjecting many of its residents to live in make-shift crowded settlements. Now, after the signing of the peace agreement in 2005, thousands of IDPs and refugees returning from various parts of the Sudan and the Diasporas are heading to Juba, looking for job opportunities and education for their children. This influx of returnees has worsened the situation in Juba and there are inadequate basic services including sanitation.
Owing to the lack of pit latrines, many people are forced to use open spaces. As result Juba has been experiencing the spread of communicable diseases such as diarrhoea and cholera, claiming hundreds of lives every year. Standing water everywhere affords a breeding ground for mosquitoes, and malaria is one of the major causes of death in Juba. Most of the victims are children as parents lack knowledge of the basic methods of prevention.
This project encourages them to take the lead in environmental sanitation and general hygiene awareness raising and prevention of communicable diseases. Emphasis is on behaviour change towards environmental sanitation.
In 2008 REI support enabled Right to Play (RTP) to:
- Expand activities into 20 schools in 2008 within Juba.
- Train community volunteers and teachers in Red Ball Child Play and Live Safe, Play Safe.
- Train children as peer educators in Live Safe, Play Safe using games to focus on HIV transmission, prevention and stigma.
- Mobilize thousands of students to take action on community clean-ups and improved sanitation
- Support teachers and community coaches in the conduct of regular play activities, play days, debate, and sport tournament for children in schools and community.
The 2009 programme will develop these achievements further, reaching around 5000 chidren and developing peer groups.
453 school children (36% were girls) from various schools participated in debates to raise awareness on general hygiene and sanitation issues. Children from various schools were sensitized on the importance of hygiene and clean environment and the role of every community member in promoting hygiene and sanitation. Some debates were documented in local radio and play for general public education.
A drawing competition for children in both community and schools was organised to raise awareness of community health issues. Approximately 126 children (82 male, 44 female) participated in the competition with ages ranging between 12- 17 years. There were also other various activities, such as group discussions, sports activities and play days reaching over 9,000 children.
“ I have today noted that RTP can convince children to do things. Before then our area was dirty and no child decided to clean up. Even if we parents talk to them, no one will agree to do it because they think the rubbish was thrown there by every body and therefore it is every family’s responsibility. But today, I am really surprised that our children woke up very early and began cleaning their area voluntarily. This is very good lesson to our community and next time we have to get involved including their mothers”.