March 26th, 2013 marks the opening ceremony of the Oxfam-built wash blocks in Za’atari Camp. Pauline Ballaman the Oxfam Program Manager in Jordan said, “five months after the program started this is a historic day because we have the wash blocks open and water coming through the taps.” The water, sanitation, and hygiene project, WASH, is one of many emergency response projects done by Oxfam-GB. Several months ago this project started here in Jordan in the Za’atari camp as part of Oxfams’ response to the Syrian crisis. A team of engineers, social and community mobilizers was formed and the building began. Facilities include latrines, complete shower, toilet, and laundry blocks. When the project started Oxfam was also able to reach 20,000 Syrian refugees with emergency latrines.
Today, Men gathered around in front of the wash blocks and danced a traditional dance while thanking the Oxfam employees in form of song. After months of hard work, Oxfam staff joined in celebration with Syrians for the opening of 48 wash blocks. “Each day brings different obstacles for us, we never know what to expect, however, it is an honor that I worked in this team to provide the Syrians a basic necessity,” Mohannad Abu Azizeh, PHE (Public Health Engineer) said. The reaction from the refugees was positive. They felt relieved and Ibrahim the street leader said, “I am very happy these wash blocks opened, it makes me feel comfortable.” The street leader formed a committee and scheduled systematic groups of 4-5 people to patrol the bathrooms. The committee also presented awareness sessions for children and families living in the area. These sessions discussed: cleanliness, hygiene, and organization. They have all pledged to do their best maintaining and organizing the wash block.