The central act for World Handwashing Day 2018 was held in the village Camela Amões, in the municipality of Cachiungo, in Huambo Province. This event not only celebrated and promoted hand washing, it was also an opportunity to deepen the partnerships that MENTOR is developing between the Provincial Government, Local Government, and other NGOs and institutions dedicated to the health and education of Angolans.
The theme decided by the provincial government was “Handwashing: A Recipe for Good Health”.
Camela Amões is a village, founded in 1910, which is undergoing radical change through a development program promoting social housing, sustainable agriculture and industry. Even though the infrastructure and quality of life has improved in this village with this development program, especially in regards to the provision of clean water, there remains the need to promote healthy hygiene practices, in particular, handwashing with soap. World Handwashing Day presented an opportunity to recognise the advances made in Camela Amões and to also call attention to the need for continued emphasis on personal hygiene in this village and across Huambo and Angola.
The activity was formally opened by the Adjunct Municipal Administrator for Social Issues from Cachiungo Municipality, Mr Abias João, followed by interventions from the Comunal Administrator of Chiumbo Comuna, Ms Paulina Fernando, then the MENTOR representative, and with the keynote address by the Head of the Inspections Department from the Provincial Education Department, Mr Teodoro Taiengo. The intervention on the part of MENTOR was made by the WASHE manager for Huambo province, Gilberto Jolomba. During his presentation he explained the activities undertaken by MENTOR around the country and clarified the support that MENTOR has provided and continues to provide for the WASHE program in Huambo. The MC for the event was Mr Lau Cussina, the head of School Health for the Provincial Education Department. Another highlight was the welcome from young star Delfina Luís, who was invited by the managers of the Camela Amões project.
Students from the local primary school presented a theatre piece, developed in conjunction with trainers from the provincial government. Students also sang a song promoting handwashing with clean water and soap. Finally, the activity was closed with ceremonial handwashing at tippy tap stations by the government representatives, traditional leaders from Camela Amões and surrounding villages, as well as students and members of the community. The handwashing activity was supported by Nursing students from the school Colegio 2 Talentos in Huambo, who helped instruct community members on correct handwashing methodology. As part of the partnership between Colegio 2 Talentos, MENTOR and DPS, these nursing students also offered free medical consults for community members following the conclusion of the official ceremony.
Overall the activity was a celebration of the difference small acts can make to improve livelihoods. It was attended by journalists from TPA and Jornal de Angola, as well as the freelance journalist and author Sousa Jamba. News coverage occurred on the TPA evening news on the 15th, and in Umbundu and Portuguese language news services on the 16th.