Vivian Victor: Good and Bad Habits Related to Sanitation Management at Home | Room by Room #29

In this episode, host Gabriella Joustra is joined by Vivian Victor, who is the scientific coordinator at LifeWater International in Tanzania

Sanitation and hygiene are prevalent in many communities, especially rural areas. This podcast episode delves into the challenges of promoting sanitation, offering potential solutions for tailoring sanitation management approaches to local contexts and empowering communities to take ownership of their systems.

Meet Vivian Victor

Vivian Victor is well-organized and can think critically about things based on facts. For her, everyone should be honest, dedicated, and hard-working to complete the tasks set out, both in a team and independently. Vivian has interpersonal communication skills, which enabled her to work with people of different cultures in a dynamic working environment.

Her experience includes working with young people, women, and other vulnerable groups. One way she does this is by building the community’s skills in WASH programs like Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS), Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM), Baby Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (BABYWASH), Community Owned Water Supply (COWSO), and School Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (SWASH). 

She works with foreign and humanitarian groups to provide for the needs of improved hygiene and sanitation and to handle disasters in rural communities. As a result, Vivian has successfully implemented the formation or reactivation of SWASH clubs in 13 schools in the project area, reactivated the Ward Disaster Management Committee, established ten cells for each village within the project area, facilitated the distribution of Lifestraw filters, which will help students to get clean and safe drinking water at school.

About the episode

A strong advocate for sanitation and hygiene, Vivian stresses the significance of these elements in maintaining optimal sanitation conditions, emphasizing the need for well-equipped facilities and improved water accessibility. Engineers and community health departments can collaborate to solve the multifaceted sanitation and hygiene challenges.

In the informative conversation, she discussed home organization and clarified common myths about this important topic. It is a common misconception that cleaning and organizing homes in rural areas costs money, but she explains that an organized home saves time and resources. Additionally, the benefits of an organized living space apply to everyone, regardless of their daily engagements.

Vivian also explained the comprehensive framework of Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH). These elements are indispensable in preventing diseases such as cholera, diarrhea, and typhoid. It also improves mental health by creating a clean, pest-free, comfortable living environment. Moreover, it boosts productivity as less time is spent dealing with sickness. 

The lack of stores in remote areas makes it hard to get cleaning materials, making economic inequality between cities and rural areas even worse. Vivian stresses the importance of using local materials for temporary items and gives examples showing how the Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) method works. In these resource-constrained environments, locals ingeniously utilize twigs and ashes for makeshift brooms and soap. 

In conclusion

Adopting sanitation and hygiene practices urgently contributes to overall community well-being. By involving communities in decision-making and fostering active participation, solutions become more likely to be sustainable and effective. Positive change is attainable and imperative for a healthier, more equitable future through education, collaboration, and community-driven initiatives.

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