Why would Thomas Buku, a 70-year old man living in rural South Sudan, take the advice of trained local volunteers leading a hygiene awareness program in his region?
The answer is trust. Thomas trusts the advice because he trusts the local volunteers.
“This is my first time attending this program,” says Thomas. “It has opened my eyes because it is only today that I have learned how to wash my hands properly. Frankly speaking, I have spent many years not knowing how to wash my hands the way it has been shown today. I am taking this message home and hope it will reach the thousands of people in my community who do not know how to wash their hands properly.”
Thomas trusts the trained local volunteers because there is a relationship between what they are teaching and what he needs. There is also a relationship between the trained local volunteers and the people, like Thomas, who are attending the workshops.
HOPE International Development Agency believes that relationships, and the trust they engender, are crucial to creating lasting, self-sustaining solutions to poverty.
Handwashing with soap is one of the cheapest, fastest, and most effective ways to help prevent diarrhea and viral diseases, according to UNICEF’s South Sudan Deputy Representative. Soap and water is an extra defence against disease that everyone, children included, can take to keep themselves healthy.