IOM Promotes appropriate Hygiene Practices in Somalia

News Fri, 04/22/2016 - 11:21 Share

On 15 October 2012 in displacement settlements across Somalia’s three zones, children gathered in large numbers to celebrate the 5th Global Handwashing Day. As part of its on-going Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) activities, IOM in partnership with its implementing partners promoted handwashing as one of the crucial hygiene practices for healthy lives and distributed clean and safe water, health promotion material, jerrycans and soap to vulnerable displaced families. © IOM 2012 Photo: Abubakar Hassan

Provision of clean and safe water alone is not sufficient to improve environmental health conditions of the beneficiaries, as the lack or absence of sanitation facilities and appropriate hygiene practices is also the main cause of mortality and morbidity, especially among children under five in Somalia. Combined with its water provision, IOM has been actively promoting appropriate hygiene practices among the beneficiaries through social mobilization at both household and community levels.


At household level, hygiene promoters have been visiting each household, particularly vulnerable ones, to discreetly discuss water and sanitation issues. Topics include how to maintain drinking water safe and free from contamination, how to dispose of faeces safely, and how to hand-wash to prevent against water borne diseases.


At the community level, a total of 257 hygiene promoters who have been trained on Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Transformation (PHAST) tools, conduct community dialogue sessions on hygiene and sanitation issues, using appropriate Information Education and Communication (IEC) materials in close coordination with community leaders and IDP settlements leaders.


As a result, over 50,000 IDPs and host communities are now improving their hygiene practices. IOM’ trainings  have placed particular emphasis on water safety during usage and storage, improvement of personal hygiene most importantly alerting each other to reduce spreading routes of diarrheal diseases.




NFIs such as soap, jerry cans and aquatabs are regularly distributed to migrant and mobile populations affected by emergencies including displacement to promote proper hygiene practices and improve household capacity for proper water treatment and storage. At the time of distribution awareness raising sessions are also conducted to improve knowledge on proper hand washing and protect water from contamination




Training focused on building local capacity for monitoring water quality and maintenance of infrastructure are integrated into all water interventions to ensure sustainability of the project in close coordination with local community leaders and local authorities. IOM conducted training sessions in Hargeisa, Somaliland on field water quality surveillance, Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Transformation (PHAST), and community water system construction which were attended by the Organization’s  Somali NGO implementing partners in  Somaliland, Puntland and South-Central Somalia as well as officials from Somaliland.


Refresher training was also conducted in Mogadishu, South-Central Somalia for  IOM’s Somali implementing partner NGO in an effort to strengthen their water quality monitoring and surveillance capacity, as the monitoring and surveillance in South-Central Somalia is often a considerable challenge due to the security situation.


In the target communities, IOM has trained WASH committees building  their capacity to enhance their own hygiene promotion activities and strengthen their partnership with the implementing partners. IOM has been actively encouraging  greater participation of women and girls in the training, as they are they are the primary members of the family taking care of daily water related activities, such as fetching and carrying water, cooking and cleaning the surrounding areas of settlements they live in.


They have subsequently been able to  improve their technical skills at the community level with improved understanding and ability to adopt and apply PHAST tools in the field.