Norhaimin’s barangay, a conflict-affected area in Shariff Saydona Mustapha (SSM), Maguindanao, does not have access to hygiene facilities, such as handwashing and comfort rooms. It is a designated evacuation area for families caught in between war among armed groups.
Norhaimin, a 26-year old Sangguniang Kabataan chairperson and MMH champion, has witnessed the increasing trend of fever, diarrhea, and skin rashes, particularly among children cramped in the area.
“What I can efficiently do is gather support from the local government unit and barangay officials, as well as gather the youth where MMH champions can conduct sessions and talk about hygiene.”
With the HBCC-MMH sessions, her confidence to communicate her community’s needs to government officials has improved.
“My dream is for my community to be safe from insurgencies and the COVID-19 pandemic. We are prone to be infected with the virus because we do not know where the enemy is. We should be aware of hygiene and cleanliness to avoid diseases.”
According to Norhaimin, the youth must have a proper education and should be engaged in activities to boost their confidence.
“I always tell the youth to not be afraid to voice out their concerns. We need to speak up so that people will hear us.”
She further emphasized that the youth must be able to participate in decision-making processes and be involved with project implementations because no one must be left behind.
This story is written by Princess Taroza and is part of the UNILEVER/DFID Hygiene Behaviour Change Coalition (HBCC) Project implemented by Oxfam, Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM), United Youth of the Philippines – Women (UnYPhil-Women), and Initiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Legal Services (IDEALS, Inc.) in Maguindanao.