Organisation for Sustainable Social Economic Development Initiative (Ossedi) on Friday awarded 17 villages from Traditional Authority (T/A) Mponela in Dowa for good sanitation and hygiene.
The villages, which include Chimphepo, Zambezi, Chilembwe II, Mlombwa and Jonasi, received certificates and were declared open defecation free (ODF) for having a toilet at every household.
Ossedi executive director Stanley Chitukwi said his organisation gave the awards as a way of encouraging villagers to have toilets and wash their hands after using them.
He said: “For many years, people in these villages have been practising open defecation. This was the main cause of waterborne diseases.
“Realising that prevention of diseases is cheaper and better than cure, Ossedi embarked on a project to sensitise people to have toilets and wash their hands after visiting the toilet. These 17 villages are successful in this initiative.”
The project, which is funded by Unicef, also encourages people to plant a tree beneath the hand-washing facility so that it grows using the water used in handwashing and nutrients from the toilet.
T/A Mponela commended Ossedi for the project, saying it has helped the people prevent waterborne diseases and live healthy lives.
“Now, I rarely hear about cases of waterborne diseases because people are using toilets. In the past, waterborne diseases were the order of the day. I hope Ossedi will extend this project to other villages which are outside the current catchment area,” said the chief. n