Twelve-year-old Faisal has made a big difference to his community through various awareness-raising activities.
By getting his friends, relatives, and neighbors involved in Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH)-related activities, he has helped improve people’s health in rural Bangladesh.
Faisal hopes that one day his village will have “a nice clean environment” with no open defecation or dirty toilets. He wants his community to maintain their toilets properly, wash their hands with soap after using the toilet, and use pits to manage their waste. He would also like to have clean classrooms at his school, along with functioning latrines and water points.
To make this happen, Faisal formed a children’s group with students from his school and children from his village.
The children’s group regularly visits all the household latrines in his village to check if they are being used properly and kept clean. The group also holds hand washing training sessions in different locations around their village, during which they explain the importance of good hygiene practices and demonstrate how to use soap to wash their hands.
With the support of Plan International, Faisal has organized several rallies with his fellow students and created motivational posters promoting the benefits of good hygiene and keeping sanitation facilities clean.
Plan believes that projects are more effective when they are co-created, implemented, managed, and owned by the community. Community-led total sanitation (CLTS) is an approach that seeks to eliminate open defecation and encourage the construction, use, and maintenance of sanitation facilities through “triggering” behavior change that drives demand for household sanitation throughout the community. When successful, triggering promotes a community-wide commitment to becoming open-defecation free.
Hygiene conditions in his village have vastly improved since the group started its work. Latrines are now being properly maintained and cleaned, and people are now regularly washing their hands. Cases of diarrhea, dysentery, and waterborne diseases have reduced significantly.
“I am very happy to be involved in this activity,” he said. “I have a dream that my village will one day be an ideal place to live and everyone here will be healthy.”