The Republic of Sierra Leone has been facing the major challenges of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) due to the lack of safe and clean water resources, inadequate use of hygiene practices, and the accessibility of basic sanitation services. Acknowledging the importance of basic WASH in improving the health, welfare, and development, especially in the times of COVID19 pandemic, Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation (BTCF), along with its international and local partners including Caritas Freetown, Healey International Relief Foundation, and Lanyi Foundation, established WASH interventions in the most vulnerable and neglected areas in Freetown, Sierra Leone.
In Grafton Polio Community, which has been facing the problem of accessing clean and safe water, BTCF and its partners built community water wells and easily accessible water taps to ensure the security of quality water and the safety of the disabled persons living in the community. In addition, BTCF and its partners also built communal latrines to encourage proper sanitation practices and to reduce the culture of open defecation. The construction is expected to be completed by the end of October 2020.
Acknowledging the importance of hygiene facilities and education, BTCF also distributed multipurpose hand-washing buckets and hand-washing instructions to several rural communities, orphanages, and villages as a means to cope with COVID-19 and other hygienerelated diseases. During the distribution, BTCF and its partners ensure the delivery of correct information on personal hygiene care which includes the importance of hand-washing, the 7 steps of hand-washing, and the other preventive measures. To support the reopening of educational institutions, BTCF also delivered the multipurpose hand-washing buckets and soaps to more than 100 schools and educational centers in Freetown, Sierra Leone, to ensure the safety of the school childrens and staff.
Advocating for the sexual reproductive health rights of all women and girls is also at the core of BTCF’s work in Sierra Leone. Working with different entities, including government, UN agencies, and civil society organizations to enhance the hygiene practices and management by delivering the reusable sanitary pads to female students and girl children. On September 2, along with the UNFPA, Lanyi Foundation, and Ministry of Health of Sierra Leone, BTCF hosted a workshop to train young women and girls on menstrual health management and the use of feminine pads.
BTCF will further distribute and donate the reusable sanitary pads to the girls in the country and continue its promotion on the importance of sexual reproductive health.
Aiming to improve the WASH condition of the vulnerable population including Ebola survivors, disabled persons, elderly, orphans, and girls in Sierra Leone, BTCF will continue to develop and carry out community-based projects in alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 6, Water and Sanitation, and its interrelated goals.
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