Not so long ago, walking along Ntayamwana and Mwanje river banks in Traditional Authority (T/A) Mpama in Chiradzulu, rancid smell of human excreta would greet passers-by as open defeacation was common in the area.
Now, that is history, as efforts by the Development Aid from People to People (Dapp) are reaping better fruits.
With people answering the call of nature wherever they pleased, the area registered 37 chorela cases in 2006 which dropped to nil in 2014.
According to Dapp Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (Wash) project manager for Chiradzulu Rhoda Ponyani, villagers were relieving themselves in the bush due to lack of pit latrines, which primarily rooted in ignorance. Apart from increasing awareness on the importance of latrines, the project also focussed on providing hand-washing equipment and constructing modern toilets and safe handling of water.
“Through this approach, analysis on sanitation practices was conducted by communities with the technical guidance of health experts. Following the analysis, people reflected on sanitation problems rocking their respective areas. The analysis stimulated people’s interest to take immediate action towards eliminating open defecation,” said Ponyani.
Dapp has so far rehabilitated 125 and drilled 23 boreholes in the three T/As to improve communities’ accessibility to safe water and provided hand washing facilities and constructing 50 modern pit latrines in five primary schools.
Communities are happy with the twist in hygiene.
Gladys Naluso of Msomela Village said in the past, it was a nightmare for her family to go into their ramshackle pit latrine. She said the bush provided better privacy.
“We never valued the importance of having a proper latrine that could preserve our dignity. Whenever we had people around the home, we could just sneak into the bush or maize garden to relieve ourselves,’’ said Naluso.n