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Community Diversity and the implications of Hygiene Education

One of the most interesting activities that is fruitful and sustainable is establishing community structures that can address hygiene issues in the areas where JEN is implementing a water supply, sanitation and hygiene education.

[School Hygiene Education with various picture cards]

In the current JEN project 2012, targeting of communities is particularly important and critical as the huge investments made in installing WASH facilities finally pays off by having healthy communities.

Juba County has displayed a very interesting settlement pattern that we would like to share.  For an outsider, it is common knowledge that Juba County is inhabited by the Bari people.

While visiting these communities it was apparent that there is a huge diversity embedded in different cultures among the targeted communities.   Some of the tribes found in Juba County are Bari, Lolubu, Mundari, Lokoya and Nyangbara.   The distribution pattern presents agricultural and pure pastoralists.

[Illiangary Village, one of the project site]

Targeting the pastoralists in Juba County for hygiene education can be extremely challenging as during this season when the rains have subsided, they move with their cattle in search of pastures for the livestock.  JEN’s hygiene team recently found a group of men performing a ritual ceremony in Tijor payam. The ceremony was termed as initiation for men in a common age group seeking to get approval from the community to get married.   The age set ranges from 18 – 25 years old.  These men in groups of 20 or more gather together for 3 months, and are subjected to living outdoors, to show how they can protect the community from enemies or attackers.  During this time, they do not wear clothes and neither do they take a bath.   

In South Sudan, men play a very big role in the decision making process, hence the need to include them in hygiene education.  However, when they are met under such circumstances, it is imperative to still create awareness among them on importance of hygiene in their families.

JEN is seeking to continue including such communities that are basically marginalized and at times forgotten in order to improve hygiene practices.  To understand their cultures as opposed to ignoring them or terming it as backward is the key factor for JEN to eventually get such communities to adopt new hygiene practices.

【Water Container in Illiangary Village】

One of the beneficiaries from Illiangary village, Kiden Rose said ‘we are very happy that now we have a clean water source in our area.  It is the first time we are receiving hygiene education, and we are happy since JEN has provided water for our children’

(Project Officer/Elizabeth Mose)

December 6, 2012 in South Sudan |