BabyWASH: Reducing childhood diarrhoea through radio and community discussion

Childhood diarrhoeal diseases are deadly – the second leading cause of death globally and a leading cause of malnutrition in children under the age of five. It is also often preventable, through access to safe drinking water, good sanitation, and the practice of good hygiene.

Our BabyWASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) project with UNICEF aims to encourage safer feeding and playing spaces for children under the age of three by targeting the hygiene habits of their mothers and fathers. For instance, washing hands with soap, keeping faces and bodies clean, wearing shoes, preparing food safely and hygienically, ensuring children play in protected areas and safely disposing of children’s faeces can all help young children to grow up healthier and more safely.

Through a five-minute radio drama series and a radio magazine-style programme, we brought critical health information to life for parents. Our local community discussion groups created safe and engaging spaces for conversations to reinforce learning about better hygiene. We also created a mobile ‘toolkit’ for health extension workers, and trained them in delivering health information more effectively, to help maintain healthier hygiene and sanitation practices in communities across the country.

Our research showed that men who listened to our radio drama knew more about handwashing with soap before and after eating and were more likely than non-listeners to say they would wash their hands with soap before eating. And in the Amhara and Oromia regions findings confirmed our work has contributed to improved knowledge of sanitation and hygiene issues, and often led to the adoption of good practice. 

Project information

Project name BabyWASH 
Funder UNICEF (backfunded by the EU)
Dates 2017/2018
Themes Health
Outputs Radio drama series, radio magazine-style programme, community discussion groups, health extension worker toolkit and training
Broadcast partners Amhara Mass Media Association (AMMA) for Amhara region,   Oromia Broadcasting Network (OBN) for Oromia and  South Community Radio Station- Yirgalem Recording and Broadcasting Station in Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR)

Our projects in Ethiopia