The Central African Republic was the initial pilot site for the Hygiene Matters Program. The first edition of Hygiene Matters was designed for the Central African Republic and was tested there in 2012.
Hope Education worked in the Central African Republic (CAR) in 2011-2012. At the time, the CAR was the third poorest nation in the world. The lack of sanitation and access to clean water led to a 60% prevalence of intestinal worm infections among school-aged children. Intestinal worms cause, among other things, chronic malaise, poor nutrition and stunted growth.
The adverse health effects of intestinal worms make it very difficult for children to excel in school and other important activities, and carry with them the potential for more serious diseases. Nevertheless, they are easily treated and can also be prevented. Children who have the power to avoid intestinal worms and who have access to treatment in the case that they are already infected have the potential for healthier, more successful lives. To read more about the details and impact of intestinal worms, we recommend this information from the World Health Organization.
In response, Hope Education partnered with OneHope to create a hygiene education curriculum related specifically to the prevention of intestinal worms. The result was Hygiene Matters. With the assistance and approval of the CAR Ministries of Health and Education, as well as local church volunteers, the materials were tested in the CAR in May 2012.
The materials were subsequently revised according to the feedback we received, and a second edition was printed. Plans were laid to reach 100,000 children in CAR in 2013. Sadly, the local political instability did not allow us to continue piloting the program in CAR. The pilot was relocated to Togo, which faces similar challenges. We remain grateful to our local partners and pray for their safety, and hope to return with this program to CAR in the future.