Conclusion of Family Latrines Project – Benin
The project was to construct 50 family latrines in Bagou. According to Elliot, all of the latrines were completed in accordance with the specifications.
By way of background, Elliot reports:
Before this project there were a total of 18 latrines for a population of 3,500. Needless to say the village could use many more, but I am confident that this project has set them in the right direction.
Two months after starting, we had finished all 50 latrines. All holes were dug at least 5 meters, and now currently nearly all have walls and roofs covering the latrine.
The biggest hump was halfway through when the cement ran out everywhere for 300 km. Once it returned, the price was too high for our budget, so I had to anxiously wait while families grew restless to finish their latrines. Eventually I bargained a workable price from a nearby town, and convinced the mayor to let me borrow his tractor to transport the remaining cement to Bagou. The rest was a piece of cake (wink).
Regarding the impact on the community, Elliot reports:
After having spent two years in this village, I am positive that latrines are the most needed improvement to the population’s well being. It will most likely be difficult to imagine how it is possible for so many people to be living without things as basic as a latrine. All I can say is there is a lot of strength, and stubbornness that allows them to survive.
But after speaking with so many women who spend at least one hour a day walking to and from the outskirts of the village to ‘fertilize the crops’ (most said the walk was 30min and none had bikes to speed up the trip like the men), it was clear that the latrines will not only help with disease and sickness but also serve as a time saving product.
We are grateful to The Soneva SLOW LIFE Trust for providing the funding for this successful project.