Most of the 18 communities that Habitat Fiji is working in has running water, however for many of these communities (and this is quite common in settlements and villages in Fiji) access to taps is shared. In some instances one or two taps are shared among a few households along with a common shower and toilet. Sometimes these shared taps can be a bit of a distance for some of its intended users and even more inconvenient for people with disabilities, mothers caring for children and elderly people.
Hand hygiene and hand washing has gained a lot more attention with the COVID-19 pandemic, but this is a challenge for these households with shared access to running taps. The villagers of Marou in the Yasawa group of islands have setup hand washing stations for each household and the village kindergarten. Washing hands is now convenient for everyone in Marou. This reduces the risk of catching or spreading COVID-19 and other germs, bugs and diseases.
58 year old Abakuki Waqavakatoga shared these thoughts: “Seeing the wash station as I approach my home reminds me to wash my hands before I enter.” Abakuki went on to explain how the wash station has helped his family practise better cleanliness. 32 year old Vaseva Bose says she is happy to see the initiative her youngest child has taken to ensure that there is always water at the wash station and that the family are using the facility.
Creating hand washing stations is part of Habitat Fiji’s youth focused engagement (CE2b) also known as WAI Fiji training.