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“I want to bring change to my village”

Zahida Jakhro is a strong-willed person determined to bring change to her village. And she has an ambitious goal – to make her village free from open defecation. With the help from WaterAid and funding from H&M Foundation, she’s teaching the people in her community about the importance of good hygiene practises.

Zahida Jakhro is a 38-year-old teacher who lives in Bapro Jakhro village in the Thatta District, Pakistan. In this district, one in three has no toilet to use whatsoever and the access to clean water is very low.

Being a literate woman with a strong personality, Zahida has chosen to become a Community Resource Person, collaborating with WaterAid who works in the area to improve access to clean water and sanitation in whole communities; in homes, schools and healthcare facilities. A key factor for success is to raise awareness and create hygiene behaviour change. This is where Zahida is playing an important role.

After participating in training provided by WaterAid, Zahida has already brought change in the lives of a couple of families, and she is confident that she will achieve much more in the coming months.

“There were no washrooms in our village before, now almost three washrooms have been built.”

— Zahida Jakhro

“I conduct hygiene sessions every month in the village. People do attend them. If they don’t, I go to their homes to call for them. I convince people by talking about the benefits of good sanitation and that this is the right way to stay healthy. If the village will be clean, then there will be less germs and we will stay healthier. Currently, people defecate in the fields. It is of course a problem, especially for women. It is not dignified and an embarrassment.”

Zahida constructed a washroom in her own house, to serve as a role model for the rest of the community. Then she started to advocate for the same in her sessions. Her plans for the village are ambitious – she wants Bapro Jakhro to be open defecation free.

“There were no washrooms in our village before. I will make people construct washrooms. And people have started constructing. Almost three washrooms have now been built.”

Zahida considers her role as the key to changing habits in the community. “I believe that if the community resource person is good, there will be change. This person should persuade people, and work hard. Then change can come. I like doing this work. It makes me happy to see the change,” she says.