We create access to clean water and improved sanitation through village wells and family composting latrines.
Did you know:
- Only 31% of rural Ethiopia has access to safe water
- Waterborne diseases cause 80% of illnesses and death in the developing world
- Sanitation has the greatest impact on health and adds 20 years to life expectancy at birth.
Village wells and family latrines are an important way to combat disease and increase life expectancy. Wells are hand-dug in dry season so that when the 3-foot circumference hole reaches water it is known that there will be a water supply all year. Villagers who have previously had to dip in shallow, dirty water where people and animals walk for their drinking water can now have clean, safe water pumped to the surface to their personal jug or jerry can.
The school children of our school latrine projects have led the way to acceptance for families to install a twin-pit family latrine in several villages. A family latrine consists of a drop-hole for feces with a lid that is moved with the foot and a collection area for urine. The vent pipe is screened so that flies, if they enter, are left in the dark when the lid is on and ‘escape ’ to the screened lighted vent where they can never exit because they won ’t return to the dark pit.
Compost is added frequently to prevent odor and the toilet enclosure and toilet pan is moved after one year switched to the other pit. The family latrine enclosure is a colorful oilcloth visible to all walking by and available for anyone to use, thus increasing the desire for sanitation and a wish to end open defecation.
STORIES FROM THE FIELD:
Toilets – A Matter of Equality
Ask anyone what it will take to make women ’s equality a reality in the developing world and “toilets ” will probably not be the response.
It is difficult to exaggerate the impact that access to private, safe, and sanitary toilets would have on the daily lives and long-term prospects of the 1.3 billion women and girls world-wide who are currently doing without. In some settings where basic sanitation is lacking, women and girls have to rise before dawn, making their way in the darkness to defecate in the open, knowing their safety can be at risk. In some circumstances, women and girls often go the whole day without relieving themselves until night affords them the privacy of darkness. Sometimes, they limit their daytime intake of food and water so they can make it until evening.
Restricted toilet opportunities can cause discomfort and increase the likelihood of health problems such as urinary tract and kidney infections and chronic constipation as well as causing unnecessary mental stress. Providing safe, private sanitation facilities helps girls stay in school. Girls miss 3 -4 days of school each month, putting them at a great disadvantage in school and in preparation for the tests that determine if they can proceed to 9th and 11th grade and then to enter the university system.
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