The Use of Photovoice by Community Health Workers from Uganda and Ghana in a Cross-Cultural Knowledge Exchange Workshop, Focusing on Safe Sanitation and Hygiene

It is estimated that 2.4 billion people worldwide do not have access to improved sanitation facilities. One potentially low-cost solution is the construction and use of pit-latrines. As part of an Economic and Social Research Council Impact Acceleration Award, a team from the UK, Uganda and Ghana conducted a project focusing on the micro-environment within the sewage storage area of pit-latrines and translated the laboratory findings into a multinational and participatory workshop that was held with the support of local village communities in Mukono, Uganda.  

Participatory visual methods, including photovoice, were used to understand the key challenges and barriers faced by Community Health Workers (CHWs) towards improved sanitation within a rural, resource constrained setting. Partners from the UK, Uganda and Ghana attended a three-day workshop, including: academic researchers (UK and Ghana), government officials from Uganda, CHWs (Ghana and Uganda); personnel from a US-based NGO. Ideas were shared on pit-latrine construction, hand hygiene and key sanitation issues from the regions in which the Ghanaian and Ugandan CHWs worked. A collaborative educational video was created by all participants and both photos and video were used in community engagement activities. 

Submitted by:
James O’Donovan

‘When we participate, we learn.’

This photo depicts a group of Ugandan and Ghanaian CHWs working side by side to co-construct maps documenting water, sanitation and hygiene challenges in their local areas. One of the Ugandan CHWs can be seen photographing the process using a digital camera.

Photographer: Henry Mugabe

Photovoice in action - CHWs capturing the construction of a tippy-tap.

This photo depicts two Ugandan Community Health Workers constructing a ‘tippy-tap’ hand washing facility out of basic materials including an old liquid soap carton, sticks, string and an old plastic bottle to cover the soap. In the background three Ugandan and Ghanaian CHWs can be seen capturing photographs.

Photographer: James O’Donovan

Hand washing using a low-cost ‘tippy tap’.

A Ugandan Community Health Worker (CHW) demonstrates how to use a newly constructed ‘tippy tap’. The ‘tippy tap’ is a low-cost solution to improve hand hygiene in rural areas where mains water supply is not present. He is watched by other CHWs and out of shot the demonstration is being filmed by a CHW.

Photographer: Henry Mugabe

‘From the bench to the village’

This photo depicts a group of villagers watching the digital story produced as part of the participatory workshop. The film features local CHWs who took part in the workshop and is set to local popular music. It contains information such as the importance of good hand hygiene and the use of pit-latrines.

Photographer: Henry Mugabe

Being recognised by the District Health Officer.

At the end of the Photovoice project, the District Health Officer for Mukono, Mr. Isaac Ddumba, attended the workshop to learn about the sanitation and hygiene challenges facing rural communities in Uganda. He viewed the photo presentations and presented participants with a certificate to acknowledge their work.

Photographer: Henry Mugabe