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The role of the church in improving access to sanitation

How local churches can work with local communities to deliver improved hygiene and sanitation facilities

2009 Available in English

The local church is often found at the heart of a community, not only upholding belief, cultural values and social tradition, but also as a force for positive change and development. This paper illustrates how the church is well­-placed to fulfil the vital roles necessary to deliver and sustain improved hygiene and sanitation. It draws on  case studies that illustrate church­based responses to  the need  for improved sanitation and hygiene in programmes supported by Tearfund,

Five roles, key to the development and change needed to tackle the sanitation crisis, characterise the church’s involvement:

  • Messenger (Communicating  messages about improved sanitation and  hygiene); 
  • Demonstrator (Demonstrating  an  improved  facility or practice); 
  • Implementer (Helping communities attain improved sanitation and hygiene through technical and financial support);
  • Advocate (Speaking out to policymakers with, and on behalf of, communities);
  • Guardian (Maintaining the gains achieved through improved hygiene and sanitation).

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