|PHAST Step-by-Step Guide: A Participatory Approach for the Control of Diarrhoeal Disease (PHAST - SIDA - UNDP - WB - WHO, 2000, 137 p.)|
|Part I: Introduction to the PHAST|
|Purpose and overview of the guide|
The project has not come a day too soon. It has been an eye-opener for the team. It provided us with an opportunity to observe at close quarters the health problems of the underprivileged, undernourished and deprived inhabitants of the slums. The team could observe the problems of slum-dwellers in depth. These people have the zeal, understanding and willingness to improve their lot. With a little initiative, constant follow-up and some services, they could do away with unsanitary conditions, fight diseases and improve the environment through this participatory approach.
Comments received from community workers after field tests of this guide in India
How many times have you seen something being done for a community, although the community neither saw the need for it, nor supported it? Failure is likely in such cases. The participatory approach outlined in this guide aims to prevent such situations. The steps in the guide can help you to enable community members to work out what they want to do, how it should be implemented, how it should be paid for and how to make sure that the community can sustain it in the future.
The participatory process leads to programmes that are much more likely to be successful than those which impose solutions on communities. Take the time to read on and see how straightforward this approach is. It will involve a little more of your time now but will save you a lot of time in the future. It will be worth the effort on your part because you will have better results. You will find that the groups you work with will be much more interested and involved in the activities you undertake together.
More particularly, in terms of hygiene and sanitation, this guide:
- provides those working in water supply and sanitation with a new model for changing hygiene behaviour
- provides those involved in the prevention of cholera and other diarrhoeal diseases with a tool for empowering communities to eliminate such water and sanitation-related diseases
- provides community workers with methods that can lead to community management of water and sanitation facilities.
The participatory methods described in this guide will lead to knowledge/empowerment and responsibility on the part of the community with whom you work. So by using them, you can make an important contribution to the fight for better environments and better health.