Thursday, April 26, 2007

African Action on AIDS Sucess Story

2007 ECOSOC HIGH LEVEL SEGMENT “Strengthening efforts for the eradication of poverty and hunger, through global partnerships for development”



AFRICAN ACTION ON AIDS, Inc.; B.P. 4340, Yaoundé, Cameroon; Tel/Fax: 220 54 86

AAA welcomes the thematic focus on “Strengthening efforts for the eradication of poverty and hunger, through global partnerships for development”. It allows us to emphasize that development happens when we go back to basics.
Back to Basics, is first a definition of development that leads to the concept of Minimum Common Humanity Level (MCHL) developed by AAA. It means, the minimum quality of life that makes the difference between human beings and animals. In this context:
Human beings drink potable water and not mud or other polluted waters
Human beings wash their hands because they know/understand the existence and actions of germs
Human beings have bowel movements in an organized latrine, not in the street or behind the kitchen
Human beings think, find solutions and implement activities that make their lives better
Back to Basics, is secondly a concept that removes human beings from low status of perpetual poverty, hunger, dependency, vulnerability to the high level of responsibility that leads to knowledge and the power to contribute in easing suffering through simple/small daily actions.

The Iron Triangle is one of AAA’s tools for development. It starts with:
1. Personal Responsibility: The realization that each individual has a major role in their own development.
2. Education: allows each individual to understand their environment and problems and be part of the solution, not a victim
3. Health: creates a healthy living foundation that sustains all other material and non material challenges.

The JUST KNOW Campaign
Based on the Iron Triangle Strength, AAA launched the JUST KNOW Campaign. AAA adopted the JUST KNOW Campaign in general, and placed its activities since 2006 under the theme: HIV/AIDS Prevention: Our Personal Responsibility. The objective of this campaign is to strengthen each individual at individual level, and allow each one to adopt life saving skills in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

We joined a network of more than 150 villages who already practice micro-finance which means that villagers are used to meeting and working together.

We decided to use rural schools existing in those villages as centres of excellence.

We chose one village where we were going to develop a model infrastructure for each school. Then:

We hand dug a well within the school compound. This well also serves villagers when the school is opened. The well provides clean water for cooking and drinking and is protected against sun or rain by a superstructure. Other activities like bathing, washing clothes are not permitted. Water is treated at the source by chlorination to kill germs.

We dug three pit latrines for teachers, boys and girls. The floor is cemented and strong, the hole is small. No one even a child can fall in. These latrines are covered to keep away flies and odors. Besides the top cover, there is a tube that goes from the pit to the roof to free them from smell. The path leading to the latrine is clean with flower beds on both sides.

We built a covered sink for hand washing, less than four meters away from the latrines. A water tank of 1000 liters provides soapy water for hand washing.

A Survey on hygiene and sanitation in schools preceded our action
Age: Sex: F or M School:
N° Question
1 Does your school have clean water?
2 Do you drink water in school? _____ If not, why?
3 If you do not drink water in school, what do you drink in school when you are thirsty?
4 Is the water in your school from CAMWATER? _______ If not, what is the source of the water?
5 If taps are present in your school, are the taps always flowing?
What do you do when the taps are not flowing?
6 Does your school have toilets?
7 Are the toilets always clean, if any?
8 Who cleans the toilets?
9 Do the students use the toilets?
10 Do you always wash your hands before eating in school?
11 Do you always wash your hands before meals in general?
12 Do you have restaurants/refectory/canteen/dining shed in your school? _____ If yes, are they clean?
13 Is there water near the canteen?
14 Is there water near the toilets/refectory/canteen/dining shed?
15 Are classrooms always clean? _____Who cleans classrooms?
16 Is the school campus always clean? _____Who cleans it?
17 Are you often ill? ____If yes, of what?
18 What is the Immune System to you?
19 What makes it strong and what makes it weak?
20 Give examples of illnesses that you believe are due to dirty hands and water
© African Action on AIDS

A Scenario was developed to help understand how germs cause most common illnesses that weaken the immune system: When a household does not have a latrine/toilet:
Members of the family, including those with diarrhea or worms have bowel movements behind their house;
Dogs, or other domestic animals eat these faeces and some of it gets on their nose and paws;
Domestic animals go into the house and bits of the faeces fall on the floor;
A child is playing on the floor of the house, and gets infested by these faeces;
Later the child starts to cry and the mother picks her/him up for comfort;
The mother then prepares food forgetting to wash her hands after handling the child;
The family eats the food and soon the whole family has diarrhea.

An Intergeneration Water Minder committee was created in the test village to ensure the maintenance of the infrastructure


Les villageois, autorités locales, représentants des parents d’élèves de l’école primaire de Bogso se sont réunis pour recevoir trois toilettes et un lavoir qui permettront aux enfants de l’école de Bogso de respecter les règles primaires d’hygiène, et ainsi renforcer leur système immunitaire.
A cette occasion, les groupes cités ci-dessus ont décidé de créer un comité d’eau qui gèrera, et les toilettes et le puits d’eau potable en construction. Ce comité est composé de la façon suivante :
Président : Le Directeur de l’école de Bogso
Vice-président : Un élève á designer á la rentrée
Secrétaire : Président des parents d’élèves
1er secrétaire adjoint : Alphonse Nguidjol
2ème secrétaire adjoint : Un élève á designer á la rentrée
Trésorier : Le Trésorier de l’école
Membre : Président du Conseil de l’école
Membre : Déléguée de GICPAB
Membre : Secrétaire de GICPAB
Membre : Maria Ngo Minyem
Membre : Ndouru Philippe
Membre honoraire : Chef du village
Membre honoraire : African Action on AIDS, représenté par le technicien chargé des travaux en l’absence de la présidente de AAA. La présence de AAA au sein du comité est d’un an.
Modalités d’entretien : L’entretien des toilettes et du puits constituera une ligne budgétaire de l’école comprenant : l’achat d’un sceau par toilette ; du savon en poudre qui sera ajouté régulièrement au réservoir ; du papier hygiénique ; la maintenance du puits. Pour assurer cette maintenance, l’école va collecter des fonds auprès des élèves, enseignants et villageois utilisant le puits. Les sommes collectées seront de l’ordre de 100 francs CFA par mois, payées trimestriellement.
En dehors des sommes ainsi collectées, le comité devrait faire des efforts pour trouver les moyens de renflouer le budget de maintenance.
Le mandat du comité d’eau devrait être revu á la fin de chaque année scolaire.
Fait à Bogso, le 28 juillet 2006 Signataires :

African Action on AIDS GICPAB Conseil de l’école Parents d’élèves

Indicators of people participation in their own development and the Importance of acknowledging it.

Indicators of people participation in their own development include:
Answering questionnaire
Learning about germs and how they make us sick through debates around the scenario
Learning about the link between the quality of life and AIDS prevention
Participating in building infrastructure including financial contribution of the village chief to finalize construction
Establish a water minder committee
Living the whole experience with pride
We give certificates to acknowledge their participation. This certificate acknowledges local and global partners in development.


Based on this case study, AAA therefore submits the following recommendation to ECOSOC:
1. Development project must transform local communities in agent of their own change.
2. Build the knowledge and the determination to participate and not to be taken care of.
3. Ensure that global partners support activities of civil society like the one described in this case study and ensure they are replicated in more villages as way to eradicate material and non material poverty.

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