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Jul 13, 2018

The story has many needs, but water is first

Contributed by Ayatam Simeneh, former Partner Support Manager, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

"I travelled to Splash’s office in Kolkata, India to be part of the Program Quality Summit with Splash staff from the U.S., Nepal, India, and Ethiopia.

The purpose of the Summit was to connect colleagues from across the globe, align around the importance of data quality and standardized methods for collecting and using data to improve Splash’s programs, and to create program quality champions within each country office.

As part of the summit, we each had the opportunity to visit Splash schools across Kolkata to see what is different from and similar to our own programmatic contexts.

Working in Addis Ababa government schools, every day I encounter school children that fill my heart with hope. The same was true in humid, hot Kolkata, where temperatures reach 39 degrees Celsius (102 Fahrenheit). Schools in Kolkata, like Addis, have many needs, including water.

Among the four schools I visited, Jagabandhu Primary School was conducting a soap drive event where every student in the school brought one bar of soap to supply the school for one year. One by one, hundreds of students placed their soap in a bucket, while the other students watched.

At Nehru Vidyatan Primary School, students ages five and six welcomed me and my colleagues, singing songs about hygiene, cheering us with enthusiasm, and giving us the best of what they had. Here, classrooms are small, and the neighborhoods are crowded and lack sufficient infrastructure, but, thanks to Splash, there are water and handwashing stations at these schools.

These kids are born to thrive and deserve everything that all kids need. Amidst this landscape, there is bright hope and it’s joyous to see that we “Splashers” are bringing clean water and smiles to these beautiful kids."

Jun 27, 2018

Cross-organization learning for Menstrual Hygiene

Summit participants in Kampala, Uganda
Summit participants in Kampala, Uganda

Splash, Days for Girls (DfG), and Whiz Kids Workshop, with funding from the Sall Family Foundation, is piloting an innovative program to improve general hygiene and menstrual hygiene management (MHM) for youth in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This program leverages the expertise of each organization to implement an enhanced water, sanitation, and hygiene program at five schools in Addis Ababa, while building a scalable model with the potential to benefit hundreds of thousands of children in the years to come. 

Why is this important? Women and girls in Ethiopia continue to face a broad set of challenges that negatively influence their health, empowerment, and well-being. Significant barriers to MHM persist. Girls do not consistently have access to education on puberty and menstrual health, with 67% of girls across Ethiopia receiving no education on menstruation at school. In addition, for women and girls in both rural and urban settings, just over a quarter of population has access to improved sanitation. Millions of women and girls go without access to hygiene solutions every month and must resort to using unhygienic materials, stay home, or resort to other means to manage their menstruation.

In April 2018, Splash staff from Ethiopia attended a training with DfG with the main objective being for DfG staff to train members of Splash Ethiopia’s team on menstrual hygiene management, DfG hygiene kit utilization, and general knowledge sharing of DfG’s organizational experience.   

WHO:  Splash and Days for Girls - a global organization dedicated to empowering local communities to support girls and women with sustainable feminine hygiene products, education, and restore dignity

WHEN:  April 16th, 2018

WHERE:  Kampala, Uganda

WHAT: Splash (2 staff members), DfG (5 staff  members), as well participants from Mali (2), Kenya (4) and Uganda (2), met to exchange knowledge and receive training from DfG to support the teaching of MHM in schools

WHY: To increase the capacity of female students to manage menstruation by enhancing their knowledge, awareness, and practice of MHM 


  • Reproductive anatomy – Participants reviewed female and male reproductive systems Puberty, Menstruation, and Menopause – The topics covered included: what is puberty;  what is menstruation; how hormones affect emotional and physical feelings; and what is menopause 
  • Hygiene Kits – The training demonstrated how the kits are made and how they should be  used
  • Soap Making – After briefly introducing the materials and chemicals used in soap making, the trainers demonstrated the soap making process and all participants made their own soap


“We had a fantastic experience in Kampala. We got a chance to see the city, appreciate the materials used for the kit production, and had a great discussions with the participants from Kenya and Mali. We plan to teach the Ethiopia office how to make soap too!”

“Regarding the training contents of MHM, it is very similar to our hygiene training. We learned a lot about the advantage of reusable sanitary pads over disposable and gathered some ideas on how we can enrich our focal teacher hygiene training. In general, this training will bring great added value to Splash Ethiopia’s BC program!”

Apr 17, 2018

Improved hygiene through training of teachers

Teachers at a training in Kolkata
Teachers at a training in Kolkata

It’s an exciting time for Splash in India! Sarva Shiksha Mission (SSM), Kolkata (also known as the Department of School Education, West Bengal), asked Splash to conduct the city-wide teacher training with our hygiene curriculum. The trainings include over 1,800 teachers from 1,521 schools, and over 100 government staff from Siksha Bandhu.

This is a watershed moment for Splash in India – it is our hope that over time, this will herald in a new era for Splash with the government (and in the eyes of the teachers, headmasters, and school inspectors). The 38 scheduled trainings began in February and will stretch to the end of June. Our team in Kolkata has reported that the early trainings had great attendance and participation.

The goal of the Splash Hygiene Education program is to change the behaviors of students through applying proven behavioral theories and best practices to fit within the context of urban schools.  The primary targeted behavior is handwashing with soap, however the program also focuses on personal hygiene, menstrual hygiene management, drinking safe water, environmental hygiene, and domestic hygiene.  

The Splash Behavior Change Framework relies on three core programmatic approaches. The first is making changes to the physical school environment. The second is influencing children through cognitive approaches. The third is influencing and leveraging communities of adults through shifts in policies and norms. For any of this programming to be successful, It is critical for our hygiene curriculum to be understood and supported by focal teachers and educators.

This opportunity presented to Splash by SSM Kolkata is an incredible statement towards the regard the government has towards our teacher training program that we have this new role and responsibility. It is Splash’s hope that we will begin to have this sort of role in other key countries where we work in the years to come!

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