These local heroes are good neighbors.
Sometimes heroes look just like the person next door. Sometimes the hero is the person next door. Community Facilitators (CFs) in Ethiopia are people who have volunteered for a great responsibility: to tell their neighbors about healthy hygiene and sanitation practices.
How they start: Lifewater field staff choose the CF from among the community members because they set a good example in their own household. Once they establish their own Health Home (latrine, drying rack, handwashing, safe water storage, and clean compound), they see the results pretty quickly. Everyone is healthier and strengthened with a new sense of pride and personal accomplishment; they did this themselves. Often we find that gratitude is a motivator for someone agreeing to be a CF, because when you experience something great you want to share it with others.
Lifewater field staff train the CFs in how to establish healthy homes and how to engage their neighbors. Together they set personal goals for the CF to reach, including how many of their neighbors to reach in a set time, and Lifewater staff meet with them regularly to see how they’re doing and what challenges they face.