Sunday, 26 June 2011

Water pipes, hygiene promotion, surfing and wild elephants

What a memorable trip to Ampara district last week to  monitor a large array of Red Cross funded tsunami recovery projects ranging from a huge  water supply system with 252.48 km of pipe delivering water to over 70,000 people, houses, sewerage treatment plants, schools and a large base  hospital built by the Finnish Red Cross in Pottuvil. But most impressive was the hygiene promotion programmes in the schools and coastal villages which has improved the health of children dramatically. I spoke to many school principals and teachers who say the hygiene promotion programmes, the new toilets with running water that the Red Cross provided to the schools, has improved the health and attitude of the children significantly.
It is so good to see school children in Pottuvil so healthy, clean and happy.  The children take home key hygiene messages to their families which has huge impact on community health. Photo: Bob McKerrow

A visit to Addalchenai school where all pupils are involved in the Red Cross hygiene promotion programme
The sign informs people of the massive Red Cross water supply programme in coastal Ampara district of Sri Lanka. Photo: Bob McKerrow

A million litres of clean water is stored in this Red Cross holding tank and is topped up automatically when it gets below half full. Photo: Bob McKerrow
And who supervises these water suppliy projects? Juhani Efraimsson from Finland shows me the detailed plans of the pipelines. Juhani, Rebecca and their watsan team are very productive unit.

Clean toilets are part of the Red Cross hygiene promotion programme in Sri Lanka and the schools take pride in keeping them clean, using water from the Red Cross funded water supply. Photo: Bob McKerrow
In the centre is the teacher who is a Red Cross volunteer and runs the hygiene promotion programme in the Pottuvil school. Rebecca Kabura, from Kenya, is on the right. Rebecca is an amazingly committed and talented IFRC hygiene promoter who has earned the respect of every village person she comes in to contact with.

A hygiene promotion meeting of women in a village outside of Pottuvil where they discuss ways of improving health and hygiene. Photo: Bob McKerrow

Water promotion by a sign informing of a hole in the ground. Can messages be more basic than this? Photo: Bob McKerrow
Volunteers are the backbone of the Sri Lanka Red Cross. Yours truly talking to volunteers in Pottuvil.
While travelling through this beautiful coastal area you come across so many tourist spots that are bringing livelihoods to local communities. This is taken at Arugam Bay, Ampara District, Sri Lanka. A surfer enjoying the early morning waves. A world championship event has been held here and is soon to be held again. Photo: Bob McKerrow
A lone surfer prowls the beach at Arugum Bay looking for the best surf: Photo: Bob McKerrow
We also found time to see many wild elephants as we travelled through Ampara and neighbouring districts who are becomung a problem. The Ampara branch of the Sri Lanka Red Cross are running a risk reduction programme protecting people from being killed by elephants. Already I have crammed too much into this posting so will follow up on this one later. Photo: Bob McKerrow


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