"Jamaica community, an Epitome of an improved Hygiene and sanitation practices"

Jamaica is a coastal community whose inhabitants are mainly involved in seasonal fishing and subsistence agriculture. It is situated in the Saama section found in the Sittia chiefdom of the Bonthe District. The lives of the inhabitants were characterized by outbreaks of infectious diseases such as; cholera, diarrheal and malaria due to poor hygiene and sanitation practices. Open defecation was the order of the day and human dignity especially women were demoralized. The environment was untidy and haggard. There was no identifiable and demarcated site to dispose garbage.

During the inception phase of the project; Promotion of Nutrition and WaSH self-supply project funded by BMZ through Welthungerhilfe, Jamaica was identified and selected to have met all criteria developed by the sub-WASH evaluation board.

At the launch of the project content and approach, the field staff elaborated on hygiene promotion activities as key in preventing infectious diseases; highlighting the interconnectedness of diseases to poor hygiene and sanitation practices. At the end of the meeting, action plans were developed to avert the predicament. Bylaws were enacted for every household and this led to the:

Prohibition of open defecation.

Construction of washrooms.

Constructing plate racks in the kitchen.

community Cleaning exercise.

Construction of Cloth lines

Identification and demarcation of garbage site

Picture above: Newly constructed kitchen utensils and plate rack after the enactment of the bylaws.

Within months of implementation, the impact of the project has been felt in every facet of the community. Diarrheal cases are gradually becoming a thing of the past while other susceptible diseases that previously exposed their vulnerability have drastically reduced. There is cohesion among members as peace and tranquillity reigns everywhere. The community which was once seen as among the dirtiest is now among those that promote hygiene.

Pictures above: Residents of Jamaica discuss with SEND field staff sanitation and hygiene issues of the community.

The community weekly savings into their savings box has been admirable. They have been able to mobilise about six million and ninety thousand Leones for the construction of twenty-one (21) water wells facilities. About nine million Leones has also been mobilised for the construction of EMAS elevated latrines with part payment already made to the technicians. Their quest for accessing these facilities has been demonstrated by their desire to contribute and reach their target within the stipulated period in their proposal.

In an interview with the town chief, Baby Bassie, he states that:

“We will ensure that this project succeeds as it is of great importance to us. We have identified our problems and we are solving them step by step. We will continue to develop our community so that other communities will emulate from us. My community will ever remain grateful to SEND Sierra Leone and Welthungerhilfe Sierra Lone not only for their efforts for us to access WASH infrastructure, but also their support to enable us realize our hygiene situation and empower us to take remedial action to restore Jamaica to a clean and dignified society”, Baby Bassie concludes with a broad smiles.