Monday, 26 November 2012

They Gave A Shit, Got Awarded

#IGiveAShit     #WTD2012

In 2001, a Singapore businessman Jack Sim, toyed around creating an organization that would address the issues that every human passes around in their lifetime. It wasn’t that of hunger or access to water which are claiming lives globally but that of sh*t.  Yes, human shit. He founded the World Toilet Organization with the aim of bringing to light issues affecting sanitation in developing countries. Eleven years on, his efforts seems to be bearing fruit.

More than 2.5 billion people in the world don’t own a toilet. This means that they defecate in the open and during heavy downpours, their shit gets drained in to the all available water sources resulting water pollution, spread of waterborne diseases and subsequent deaths. This is what led to the creation of World Toilet Day celebrated on 19th November   by close to 19 counties with the aim of raising global awareness on the struggles facing the area of sanitation.  This year’s theme seems so straight to the point, I Give a Shit do you?

Closer home sanitation is still a big issue we have to deal with.  Only 74% of households in Kenya have toilets, 62% being in the coast region with 40% of these households being in Kwale. Taita Taveta happens to take lead with 95% households having toilets.
This has resulted to increased awareness creation by Plan international Kwale in partnership with the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation Kwale. Through their Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) model which is founded on three key words Shame, Fear and Disgust, they have managed to trigger – villages in Kwale County. Nevertheless, some villages are yet to be declared Open Defecation Free (ODF).
But that isn’t the case with Mrihi wa Bibi and Mtasyvani villages

                                    Mrihi wa Bibi one of the ODF certified villages

In 2010, these villages became ODF under certification of Government officials’ and Plan staff from Uganda, Zambia and Ethiopia. You wonder how they achieved such a hefty goal.
“We helped each other in building of toilets” recalls one of the villagers
This helped them pool up their energies which in turn ensured all village members had latrines to dispose their waste
Two more years down the line 6 more villages (Kivingoni, Makombe, Mkandamuzo, Tuu, Vuzo and Mazimalumi) out of the 13 have been ODF certified. They have been practicing the same model and its results are more than anticipated. In CLTS every member of the society is involved in the sanitation process, the children, the parents, the government officers and non-governmental organizations. No wonder the wide array in attendance during the celebration day at Msulwa primary school.
A village member receiving the ODF certificate on behalf of the village

Speaking during the event, the assistant District commissioner drew a relation of CLTS with the Kenyan independence goal of Eradicating poverty, ignorance and hunger.  When a community is educated on sanitation issues, ignorance departs them paving way for the fulfillment of other goals. He further stated that the government of Kenya had set the deadline of June 2013 by when all villages should be ODF.

“Build according to your ability. Any materials will suffice as long as your poo gets down to the ground and you can conduct the process without fear of being seen by others” he continued. He shifted the theme to “I care my toilet, our health” to make it suit more the surroundings. Most community members were still ingesting faeces from the fact that some still hadn’t their toilets and hence defecated in the open. Despite the challenges of loose soil in areas of Tiwi which crumbles the toilets with time, he urged the communities to be united as even then would donors come in to help them in case of such difficulties.

 His Parting shot: Our health, our responsibility. My health, your responsibility. Your health, my responsibility 

Personally I give a shit, do you?

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