We made hygiene our culture! - A teacher’s story from Lifateng, Mohale’s Hoek, Lesotho

Australian Red Cross (ARC) | Jenni Lillingston from Australian Red Cross (ARC), on 31/05/2018 18:20 AEST

Mr. Rahlao, a teacher at Lifateng Primary School in Mohale’s Hoek is thankful for the training and information provided through the WASH Promotion Interventions for Rural Communities Project funded by CS WASH Fund.  It has made him aware that it is important for both male and female teachers to be able to talk openly with students and build their understanding about good hygiene practices including menstrual hygiene management (MHM). Before, customs and attitudes meant only female teachers discussed such topics and MHM could only be discussed with female students.  

Lesotho Red Cross is implementing the WASH project using an integrated approach: building latrines and water systems for remote communities and schools; and training and awareness-building of communities, teachers and pupils.  Teachers in the target communities are now confident that they can continue to train and support current and future students after the project is concluded using the knowledge and techniques provided by LRCS. This includes continuing School WASH Clubs where good hygiene behaviour is promoted amongst students, from which knowledge and behaviours is also transferred to student’s households and communities.

Mr Rahlao is proud of the fact that male teachers at Lifateng now openly discuss menstrual hygiene with female students with confidence.  The female students also express that they feel comfortable talking to the male teachers if they have concerns. Through the WASH Clubs, boys are also encouraged to support girls during menstruation including helping them buy or access pads if needed. 

Mr Rahlao has also witnessed a significant change in the physical appearance and habits of the teachers and pupils.  Before children would eat outside, without washing their hands.  But after training they are all extremely hygiene sensitive - ensuring that each and every one of them practices hand washing and proper food handling.

 “Before we did not think it mattered seeing our students eat outside even in windy seasons but now we are very strict about the cleanliness of the food and students. We made hygiene our culture!”