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Toma’s story

Habitat for Humanity has organised a water and sanitation committee in Northern Bangladesh and is training local facilitators such as Toma, to help raise awareness in the community.

“When I saw the committee members working with the villagers to improve the water, sanitation and hygiene situation of our community, I thought I should be involved in this initiative.” Toma said.

With the support of Australian Aid through the Civil Society WASH Fund, Toma joined the committee and received training from Habitat for Humanity on water, sanitation and hygiene practices. She then began organising trainings, meetings and discussions with the community to raise awareness around the importance of clean water and safe hygiene and sanitation practices. In particular, Toma focused on educating women and girls in her community on menstrual hygiene.

“My favourite awareness activity is showing people pictorial flash-cards,” said Toma. “I believe the hygiene situation in the community can be improved when a change occurs in people’s minds. I want my family and neighbours to know about improved hygiene and sanitation practices and follow these. This will make a huge difference in the health of the community.”

Joining the committee and becoming a facilitator, has revealed Toma’s natural flair as an educator.

“I have known Toma since she was a child,”said Mr Haq, the head of the committee. “She is a natural presenter and has gained great favour in the community, especially among the girls. She also starts her own initiatives to raise awareness in the community. She is a very good facilitator and great resource for our committee.”

With the help of the committee and facilitators like, Toma positive changes can already be seen in the community. There is increased knowledge of menstrual hygiene, children are now washing their hands with soap before eating and after defecation and people are also repairing their toilets and making them more sanitary.

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