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Poetry with power to stop illness

See how poetry is helping save children from illness in one of Africa's poorest countries.

Written by Tearfund | 15 Jan 2016

Photo: Hannah Maule-ffinch/Tearfund

As a subject for poetry, it might seem obscure,

but when it comes to beating diarrhoea

it can help with the cure

Ok, so you won’t see those lines published in a decent anthology of poems anytime soon, but poetry is being used in the Central African Republic (CAR) to help kids understand the value of handwashing when it comes to reducing illness.

Tearfund is working at five schools in Boda to promote better hygiene and sanitation standards.

Cyriaque Harelimana, Tearfund’s Country Director for CAR, said, ‘School-based hygiene promotion is very worthwhile for the health of a community, as an entire classroom with clean hands can effectively stop the spread of disease in its tracks.’

Photo: Hannah Maule-ffinch/Tearfund
‘There’s no single action that has greater impact on reducing diarrhoea in the home than handwashing regularly with soap’
Cyriaque Harelimana, Tearfund’s Country Director for CAR



As well as encouraging kids to write poetry about washing their hands, drama, songs and practical demonstrations are being used to get hygiene messages across.

Tearfund is also creating school health clubs where boys and girls aged from 9–15 meet with specially trained teachers and plan hygiene promotion activities in the wider community.

Studies have found that children living in households where there’s soap and active promotion of handwashing have half the rates of diarrhoea compared to youngsters who don’t.

‘There’s no single action that has greater impact on reducing diarrhoea in the home than handwashing regularly with soap,’ added Cyriaque.

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