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In the past, residents of Soya in North Kivu relied for water on a stream during the dry season. Few families had access to a latrine; most would defecate in the bush near their houses, and hand-washing was rare. Illnesses such as diarrhoea, stomach aches and skin problems, on the other hand, were common.

Under the SWIFT programme, Oxfam is supporting Soya to implement the government-approved ‘Healthy Villages and Schools’ approach through local partner Hydraulique sans Frontières (Hyfro), which has constructed four new water points in the village and has trained ‘community motivators’ in hygiene awareness.

Hyfro has helped the community set up a water users’ committee to maintain the new system, and a management committee to monitor and oversee the process of reaching ‘healthy village’ status. Find out how committee members feel about their roles, and how they intend to ensure the changes in their village are sustainable.

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