“Twatotela sana!” Margaret exclaims, with an infectious smile. That means “thank you very much”—but really, for her selfless work and genuine desire to bring about change in her community, we should be thanking her.
A volunteer Community Health Promoter (CHP) with Seeds of Hope since 2008, Margaret is a beacon of light and a voice of hope in her community, Mapalo, where she works to bring the good news of health.
Through her joy-filled eyes and quiet strength, you would never see the challenges her family of 11 has faced over the years. Before she began volunteering for Seeds of Hope, her family was often stricken with malaria and diarrhea, resulting in many trips to the clinic—trips they could not afford. “Every month we would have an outbreak of diarrhea,” Margaret says. She and her family were drinking from a contaminated source—an unprotected shallow well. They had no idea the water was making them sick.
When she attended her first hygiene training facilitated by Seeds of Hope, her life changed. Now, when asked about the last outbreak of diarrhea in her home, she says, ”I can’t remember … I don’t even know where the clinic is now!” After learning how to live in a healthy environment—one with a rubbish pit, tippy tap, latrine, and BioSand Filter—Margaret joined with Seeds of Hope to help us spread the word as a CHP. To date, Margaret has reached out to and trained 16 other households, two of which have received certificates from SoHIP recognizing their efforts to establish Healthy Homes.
Margaret is a witness to Mapalo’s transformation, but her vision extends far beyond her community—she dreams of a world where every home is free of disease. Margaret is committed to doing her part. How will we do ours?
In a manual released earlier this year, the United Nations, in conjunction with the World Health Organization and UNICEF, recognized Seeds of Hope International Partnerships as a model organization for household water treatment and safe storage. Our trainings and ongoing support of BioSand Filter recipients are saving lives while pioneering the way for other growing nongovernmental organizations to learn from our experiences.
Here’s an excerpt from page 22 of the manual:
“Seeds of Hope International Partnerships (SoHIP) is a Zambian nongovernmental organization (NGO) that started implementing HWTS with support from CAWST in 2005. Since that time, SoHIP has installed more than 6,500 bio-sand filters in 10 communities in peri-urban areas of Lusaka and Ndola. In 2010, with training from CAWST, the SoHIP team developed two evaluations, piloted the questionnaire, and collected and analyzed the data. The evaluations used three main data collection methods: household survey, observation and water quality analysis. The household survey included questions concerning user practices, such as uses of the filtered water, safe storage and maintenance; as well as user perceptions, such as likes and dislikes and ease of use. To assess correct use, the team assessed the filter flow rate, general condition of the filter and height of the water above the sand. Finally, testing of turbidity and Escherichia coli was completed at 12% of the households surveyed. For every filter tested for E. coli, four samples were analyzed: source water, water poured into the filter, filtered water and stored water. The results provided important information that influenced improvements in programme implementation. For example, water quality results from filtered water indicated, on average, 94% removal of E. coli, but recontamination of the filtered water in the storage container was common. The household survey found that users were performing filter maintenance more often than was necessary, and some users lacked knowledge about how to correctly use their filter.
… SoHIP improved education and training on filter use, filter maintenance and safe water storage.
As a result, SoHIP improved education and training on filter use, filter maintenance and safe water storage. To reinforce the education messages, CAWST and SoHIP developed introductory seminars on WASH for community groups and schools as well as training workshops for community health promoters. After each training session, follow-up meetings were held to check progress and assist users in overcoming problems. Each community health promoter now visits an average of three households every week to reinforce messages about filter use and maintenance, hygiene and sanitation. Ongoing monitoring by the community health promoters includes collecting information about filter use and safe water storage practices. The community health promoters also monitor the households’ hygiene and sanitation practices and knowledge of disease transmission. SoHIP’s monitoring has shown that there has been an increased demand for the bio-sand filters, more willingness by the community to contribute to the cost of the filters and improved correct use of the filters.”
If you’re interested, here’s a link to the full text: