“An opportunity to serve my community”
With 2010 Norwegian Broadcasting Cooperation Telethon funds, NRC is training community representatives in Dadaab camp good water and hygiene practices. The members say it’s helping them lead dignified lives.
“Being able to serve my fellow refugees as their block leader in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Committee is fulfilling and gratifying” says Somali refugee Hassan Abdullahi Hassan, a resident in Hagadera refugee camp, part of the world’s biggest refugee camp, Dadaab. Hassan fled from Somalia in 1992 and has lived in Kenya as a refugee since.
NRC began operations in Dadaab in 2007 and has been implementing projects for shelter, education, food security as well as water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) projects. In April 2012, NRC took over the full implementation of WASH activities in Hagadera camp and its outskirts. The projects are supported with funds from the 2010 Norwegian Broadcasting Cooperation Telethon.
The NRC WASH Hagadera project is geared towards improving access to portable water, sanitation and hygiene to all 112,202 refugees living in Hagadera camp. The camp is divided into 14 sections with each section having 7-10 blocks.
Through the Telethon funds NRC has been able to train 40 WASH committee members on basic water, sanitation and hygiene promotion. The committee members then use their knowledge to spread information among their community members.
Abdullahi Hassan and Mohamed Noor Ahmed are among the members trained. When asked what the training has given him, Mohamed says: “I have learned the importance of hand washing, especially at critical times, about prevention of epidemic diseases such as Cholera, and how to create public awareness in the community. This knowledge has really helped me and my family and given me an opportunity to serve my community better”.
The WASH committees are composed of 2 representative from each block and operate on voluntary basis. The representatives are community focal persons on WASH needs of their community.
“The refugee community in Hagadera continues to appreciate the support as this enables us to lead a dignified life through the knowledge and skills we have acquired. This will also be a useful experience when we go back to Somalia,” says Hassan Abdullahi Hassan.