Promoting Latrine Construction And Use In Rural Villages

Lelere villagers in Torit County, gathered on Saturday to remember the day the youth flogged two community members for failing to construct pit latrines for their homes.

Promoting Latrine Construction And Use In Rural Villages
Hygiene and Sanitation monitoring team conducting an inspection at beneficiaries' sites in Lolere [Photo| Peter Lokale]

By Peter Lokale Nakimangole

TORIT, 19 June 2016 [Gurtong] – It is mandatory in the village for every house to construct a pit latrine in order to maintain hygiene and sanitation in the area.

Failure to do so, a punishment is given to the owners of the house. As the Chief in the area narrates to Gurtong, two people were caned for not following the rule.

“The youth summoned the two people who had refused to construct pit latrines for their families and they were each given 5 strokes of canes,” Mr. Claudio Isara, the village chief, narrates.

On Monday, the Chief shared the story to a joint monitoring team sent from Torit which comprised of Moon Light development Organization (MLDO), Rural Water and Sanitation Support Agency and NIRAS.

He said that the two members of the community were subjected to a punishment for being lazy and showing total reluctance to participate in communal work with the rest of their colleagues.

“These are individuals who do not want to work and associate with others. When other community members are helping the vulnerable, they isolate themselves,” he adds.

According to Isara, the verdict to flog the lazy community members was reached during the peak of Sanitation and Hygiene drive aimed at eliminating open defecation in the village.

Mr. Luka Bur, Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) facilitator, the lead sanitation and hygiene campaigner in Lelere, says the village has 43 households and nearly all have acquired pit latrines.

He says the youth, with the village Hygiene and Sanitation committee, through communal work, managed to construct 7 latrines for widows, the elderly and People with disabilities (PWDs).

“This was to ensure the vulnerable groups are not left out and defecate in the bushes to contaminate the village,” Bur says.

Rural Water and Sanitation Support Agency (RUWASSA) contracts the MLDO, to drive the campaign for households to construct and adopt utilization of the pit latrines.

Mr. Moses Geri, RUWASS, CLTS Health/Hygiene project officer says the campaign against open defecation started in November, last year, by sensitizing the community.

“We launched a campaign on the disadvantages of open defecation and the importance of using latrines, referred to as “Triggering” when the village was littered with feces,” he adds.

But the sanitation and hygiene situation in Lelere village has now changed since the last six months, Geri observed.

He acknowledges that, through combined efforts of the chief, the youth and the Community Hygiene and Sanitation Committee, Lelere has turned to be a village with a clean environment.

“Our efforts have not been in vain. The community has proved that the donor which funds the project has not wasted its money,” expresses Mr. Geri during the tour by the monitoring team, a week ago.

NIRAS funds the Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) project and it is implemented in a total of 18 villages in Torit, Lafon and Imehejek counties.

NIRAS is a company that manages development fund on behalf of the government of the Netherlands, implement projects, builds capacity, and provides technical advice to beneficiaries across the region.

Mr. Mike Wood, Water, Hygiene and Sanitation (WASH) advisor to the NIRAS and Water for Eastern Equatoria, appreciates the behavior change of the community for their rapid flexibility and acceptance in constructing and using pit latrines saying they will always remain the best examples in the country.

He also encouraged the community to improvise covering facilities at the doors of the latrines for privacy and better hand washing facilities to avoid any contaminations, and that this should be taken with seriousness.

Mr. Wood was further impressed after witnessing the community using ash for washing hands each time they visit the latrine in absence of soap in Olianga village where a similar project has been implemented.

“I’m greatly pleased and impressed to see for the first time people using ash instead of soap, for washing hands,” Mr. Wood comments on the community’s innovation in Olianga Village.


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