The Founders Juliet and Anthony Waterkeyn went on their annual tour of the programme in Zimbabwe to see how the team were doing in Makoni District where the SKAT funded project was revamping CHCs and installing Rope & Washer pumps for a self supply water project. However whilst the technology was disappointing the CHC methodology was encouraging. Whilst Anthony was looking at the technology, Juliet was more interested in the home hygiene of the house they were visiting. Seeing the vegetable garden and fruit trees, Juliet asked whether the owner was a CHC member from way back when the first CHCs were formed in Weya Ward, when there had been a programme introducing nutrition gardens. The owner said she had indeed been a CHC member in the distant past and to prove it she took me into her hut to show us her original CHC Graduation Certificate still hanging on the wall of her home!
She said, ‘Juliet’ and smiled with pride. I thought she was referring to me! Then I saw her Graduation Certificate pinned up on the wall, clearly indicating that she was called Juliet Damba and had joined her CHC ‘Marengenya Club’ almost twenty years ago on 17 March 1999. Her Certificate had in fact been signed by me when I was CEO of ZimAHEAD – we were delighted to share a quite unusual name!
With great pride, she then took us on a tour of her compound showing all the haulmarks of a good CHC member which were still in evidence. She showed us her spotless kitchen with safe water storage, individual cups and plates for each member of her family, hygienic food storage – all exactly as prescribed for CHC members 20 years ago!
She also had invested time and money to pave her yard, to make a permenant pot-rack of cement (not the standard temporary stick construction). Not far away down a well-used foot-path, a VIP toilet that was found to be perfectly functioning, odourless and fly free and, most significant, there was a functioning ‘tippy tap’ half full with water – with green grass growing at its base showing that it was used daily and kept filled with water! Clean clothes fluttered on the washing line.
This was no put up job to impress us, but an incidental example of a CHC member who had permenantly improved their home hygiene. We were delighted by this insight. Although this was but one household – if one household could achieve this, there was no reason to believe others could not as well.
For us it was exciting evidence that that Juliet had been steadily improving her home hygiene, comfort and livelihood over 20 years – our training had resulted in concrete change. Her knowledge of disease prevention and basic hygiene practices had been passed on to her children. Now her very well nourished and healthy grandchildren were playing in the same hygienic environment. A third generation was benefitting.