Hygiene is important anywhere in the world. In Ethiopia it is particularly important due to diseases that are spread through everyday life and activities. At the Kindu Club, an after school programme supporting sponsored children, teaching is given emphasising the importance of hand washing, especially after using the toilet, and before handling food or eating.
Sandra Kemp, a nurse from Leicester, runs a DFID-funded project to improve hygiene practice at Gondar Hospital. She took time off from this vital work to visit the Kindu Club, bearing pencils, pens and paints. 27 children, mainly from grades 6 and 7 (aged 12-14) were eagerly awaiting her, sheets of paper at the ready.
After a brief recapitulation of the importance of hand washing, the children were asked to draw or paint something to illustrate hygiene. To provide some inspiration, volunteer Alan posed while project director Rory sketched his hands being washed under a running tap on the whiteboard. Several of the children made similar drawings, but others used the opportunity to indulge their creativity. Silence reigned and at the end of the afternoon we also had a couple of friendly lions, a number of beautifully executed flowers, several houses, and scenes of social interaction.
Following the success of this venture, the project team here in Gondar are planning to visit local schools to help them spread the message of good hygiene as well as getting creative with paints and crayons!