SOIL celebrates World Hand Washing Day in Shada

A special post from SOIL Board Member Jessica Lozier

On Saturday October 15th, the SOIL team joined hands with the community of Shada to celebrate Universal Hand-Washing Day, a neighborhood where SOIL has worked for years.  Children and adults alike participated in the community celebration which included hand-washing demonstrations, the distribution of important sanitation information, and entertaining skits and songs performed by local community groups.  Of course no Haitian celebration would be complete without music, and the DJ had the crowd dancing and singing along with the performers and presenters.  SOIL’s favorite beneficiaries, children, took the forefront in the celebration, kneeling around our animator and leading the crowd in songs and laughs as the community rallied around sanitation.

SOIL organized this celebration for several reasons.  Hand-washing is an essential piece of any sustainable sanitation solution.  While we may take hand-washing for granted, Shada is a crowded neighborhood that sometimes requires people go out of their way to find ways to wash their hands safely with clean water and soap.  Shada and the rest of Haiti have recently been plagued by a cholera epidemic, making hand-washing an even more urgent practice to emphasize in the community.  The event was also an opportunity to introduce the sanitation survey that SOIL plans to unroll in the following months.  The information collected in this survey will elucidate current sanitation practices, health and economic factors, as well as household information.  We hope that this information will help SOIL and other entities improve sanitation interventions in Shada and other similar communities.  For example, SOIL plans to use this information to help design a household composting toilet model that will be debuted in Shada over the next several months.

SOIL is happy to have performed this event!  Not only did the children and other members of the community participate in hand-washing demonstrations, community activists from SOIL and our partners in the Haitian Red Cross, the Rotary Club, and the Mayor’s office emphasized the importance of other sanitation practices.  Our agronomist Romel also explained and showed off some of the valuable compost that is being generated from the public toilets around Cap-Haitien and in Shada itself!  It was an opportunity to celebrate our work in Shada, as well as to rally around the work still to be done. We look forward to another year of hand-washing and community sanitation work in Shada!

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