Unicef solidly behind CHC scale up in Rwanda

In Kigali, this week, the Directors of Africa AHEAD met with the new WASH Manager for Unicef, Dr Malik, to discuss how to go about the massive training that is needed throughout Rwanda to complete the country wide coverage to all 15,000 villages before 2018. The Unicef team is currently supporting an extensive programme through SNV and have trained 6,400 CHC members in 4 districts in the past year. However the methodology they used was a two day workshop on WASH workshop, which is more akin to the old PHAST approach. Whilst Dr. Malik acknowledged it was ‘better than nothing’, this type of training is not considered in line with government standards for a classic CHC programme, which involve 20 sessions, one per week for six months within a CHC structure.

Although Unicef has been solidly behind the CLTS strategy in most countries in Africa, in Rwanda the MoH was adamant that this method could not be used  for fear of inciting divisions which are still healing after the genocide 20 years ago. Instead the government endorced the benign CHC approach which seeks to build common unity and practice through active hygiene improvements. In 2010 Unicef suppported the development of the CBEHPP  manual, written by Africa AHEAD’s CEO, Dr. Juliet Waterkeyn, whilst backstopping Ministry of Health, as a consultant.

Now Dr. Malik, who was appointed WASH Manager in Rwanda for Unicef last  year, is showing a new energy in assisting government to scale up the training for CBEHPP throughout the country. Of the 15,000 villages nearly 40% have been trained in hygiene. Now Unicef  has committed to supporting 18 districts in the country, whist USAID is undertaking to support nine  more districts. In this way  by 2018, in every village in Rwanda in all 30 districts,  will not only have a registered CHC, but all households within the CHC will have been trained in hygiene. As every CHC will include 80 -100% households in the villages this amounts to 9 million people with improved hygiene.

As over 40 NGOs are supported to role out the Community Based Environmental Health Promotion Programme, there is a need to ensure that a high standard of the CHC Model is maintained. Africa AHEAD as the architect and main driver internationally for the CHC model, the organisation based in Kigali,  is best placed to provide the training and quality control need to make sure the job is properly done.