Hygiene Mela in Mirpura (AJK) Report

Acknowledgement

I am extremely grateful and wish to thank the management team for organizing such type of successful Hygiene Mela. I am deeply indebted to Planning Committee for planning very well and arranged this Hygiene mela in difficult situation and in short time.

I also wish to thank press officers for cooperation and providing full coverage before and after organizing of Hygiene Mela.Special Thanks to Mrs. Shahnaz, who directed, helped and guide us while arranging this Hygiene Mela.

Organizing this Mela has been a great success and I am pleased that we will organize this Mela once again in Tehsil Athmaqam of District Neelum. I am sure that the 3rd Hygiene Mela will be even a great success and we would encourage every one to attend.

Jehanzeb

President
Salik Foundation

Introduction:

Year 2008 has been designated as the international year of sanitation by the UN general assembly. The practice of hand washing with soap tops the international hygiene agenda for the year 2008. October 15, 2008 was marked as the first Global Hand washing day. The aim of this day was to reinforce the call for improved Hygiene practices. To be a part of Global community Salik Foundation has arranged a Hygiene Mela in District Neelum at Government Inter College Mirpura Ground on October 15, 2008.

Hygiene Mela is a form of education for the local community in improving their knowledge regarding hygiene. It also strengthens the partnership and alliances with community and allows more integration of positive approach towards health education. it also bring changes in behavior and attitudes and is cost effective way of promoting health and preventing diseases. It provides an enhanced learning environment for the community. The chief guest was Raja Muhammad Yousaf (Counselor UC Baria). This Hygiene Mela Attracted upwards of 1200 visitors.

Objectives:

1. To be a part of Global community on Global Hand washing day.
2. To improve awareness regarding hygiene amongst the local population living in Tehsil Athmaqam, District Neelum.

Planning:

Planning for this Hygiene Mela started from September 12, 2008. A planning meeting was held on October 12, 2008 in the office of Salik Foundation. Norwegian refugee Council (NRC), Darawa Development organization, Peace Foundation, CDC, Local Government, Social Welfare Department, Strengthen Participatory organization (SPO), Islamic Relief, Society for sustainable development (SSD) and members from health department participated in this planning meeting. In this meeting a committee was formed for planning and arrangement. A list of Local Organization that would be involved and will have their exhibition stands was prepared. The committee decided that local dignitaries such as community focal persons, councilors, mayors, members of health departments and other political dignitaries would be invited to participate in this Mela. They decided that the Hygiene Mela would continue to be a one-day event from 10: 00 am to 4:00 pm. They also decided that different games of short duration would also be included in Mela.

In this planning meeting a team of 15 volunteers was formed. Specific tasks were given to these members by planning committee to ensure smooth running of Hygiene Mela. The committee agreed to invite Mrs. Shamim Ali Malik (State advisor) as a chief guest. She was invited two weeks before and the invitation was accepted. The majority of the planning had been completed by September 2008. Improvements were made on car parking, layout of displays to ensure safety and maximum visibility of exhibitors.

Publicity:

A team of Salik Foundation as well as Volunteers had organized Pre event publicity. Invitations were distributed to various community centers, health centers, govt departments and the local press. Posters (A4 size) were also distributed and pasted on walls widely. The Mela was also publicized by loudspeaker and through newspaper. A press release regarding Hygiene Mela was published in Local newspaper a few days before.

The Program:

Mrs. Shamim Ali Malik had invited as chief guest for the Mela and she had accepted the invitation but due to heavy rain a day before main road from Muzaffarabad to Mirpura blocked by sliding due to which Mrs. Shamim Ali Malik was unable to reach and attend the event as chief guest. So Mr. Raja Muhammad Yousaf (Councilor UC Baria) was invited as chief guest. The Chief Guest Mr. Raja Muhammad Yousaf then inaugurated Hygiene Mela. Project Coordinator of Salik Foundation then started the proceeding by welcoming every one to this event. The program then started with recitation of Holy Quran. Miss Shamaila recited a few verses from the Holy Quran.

Events in Hygiene Mela:

Games
National songs
Debates on Hygiene
Jokes
Quiz competition
Interactive theaters

Sports Event:

Different games of short duration were also included in mela. First of all different games played in mela. Players throughout from the district participated in the following games.

 Disc throw
 Rope jumping.
 Long jump
 High jump

According to the direction of planning committee all the matches were completed in the mentioned time. Prizes were given to the winners at the end.

Other events: 

The other events of mela started. Different school children participated in debates on hygiene jokes and sang national songs. A quiz competition was also included in the Mela. In this competition simple questions regarding hygiene were asked from children and women and prizes were given to the winners.

October 15, 2008 was global hand washing day so a session was also included in which children washed hands with soap in front of all for twenty seconds. At the end soap were also distributed among children, mothers and fathers of children under 5 years of age.

Interactive theater:

Salik Foundation theater volunteers performed on a script in Hygiene mela. This script was specially developed for Global Hand Washing Day by the Project.

Exhibition Stands:

In this Mela there were 8 exhibition stands. Organizations that were involved included:

• Salik Development Foundation (SDF)
• Peace Foundation.
• Press for Peace (PFP).
• Society for sustainable development (SSD)
• Pakistan Community Development program (PAK CDP).
• Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).
• Islamic Relief (IR).
• Darawa Development Organization.

The stands displayed a variety of information to the participants. The participants took interest in all the displays

Attendance:

We hoped that more than 2000 male and female would attend this Hygiene Mela but due to heavy rain a day before and also on the same day of Mela. A total of 217 female and 960 male attended this Hygiene Mela. But it was very encouraging to see women participated in this Mela. The participants were from all age groups.

What people said about Hygiene Mela?

Raja Muhammad Yousaf (Councilor)

I congratulate to all staff members of Salik Foundation who’s arranged this big event in a very difficult situation. (Rain was started a day before and was raining on the same day of mela and all the arrangements were made in rain). This was a very good program; the theater and other programs were very useful and not only created awareness but helped in changing behavior of people. The event was not only entertaining but was an important opportunity to involve the community In large in hygiene promotion.

Raja Zulfiqar (Union Council chairman).

This was a very good program and I saw that a large number of people especially women participated in rain. The efforts of Salik Foundation are of great worth who’s arranged this type of successful Mela. As a residential of this area I know that the people don’t care regarding safe drinking water and washing hand with soap. The people usually use unsafe water which is a source of many diseases especially diarrhea. This program helped in bringing changes in behavior regarding safe drinking water and washing hands
with soap.

Fathers and mothers Views:

We found the event very informative. We enjoyed Performance of groups on scripts. We also learnt how to improve our health and to prevent illness by gaining Knowledge in this Mela.

Benefits to Community:

 The community learnt how to improve health and prevent diseases by gaining knowledge.
 The community learnt how to clean water from germs at home.

Evaluation from attendees:

The volunteer provided very good support. The volunteer helped much in keeping record of the number of attendees and the collection of evaluation forms. Visitors returned a total of 100 evaluation forms.

90% Found Hygiene Mela enjoyable.
85% Found Hygiene Mela informative.
80% Found Hygiene Mela well organized.
70% Found exhibitions informative.
95% would attend similar events in future
5% would probably attend.
0% would not attend.

Conclusion:

The Hygiene mela was seen a successful event, while changing their attitudes and behaviors and was cost effective way of promoting hygiene and preventing diseases. Its aim was to provide learning environment for the community. For this purpose different activity in the mela ware organized very well. Exhibition stands of Salik Foundation and other NGOs in the mela were very informative.