Conclusion of Weinde Latrine Project – Senegal
The project was to construct 15 latrines in households throughout the village.
The project has been completed, with the construction of the last two latrines and the training session.
When I brought the supplies to my village, the mason created the rebar frames for all of the latrine covers. That process took two days.
Once those were complete, he went to the latrine sites and with the help of his apprentice they completed the pits that had been pre-dug and lined by the latrine owners, and then poured the cement into the frame for the cap. The cap was then placed over the hole and cement poured around it. One latrine was completed per day.
The project was a huge success. While I was not on hand for the completion of every latrine, I did a follow up on every single latrine, and everybody is highly satisfied with the work done. They have told me how it helps them because they do not have to go out into the fields to defecate. That is a huge relief, particularly to the elderly.
Once the final latrines were complete I held a training on proper health and sanitation. It was necessary due to the fact that while latrine use was becoming widespread in my village, proper sanitation practices did not follow.
Part of a community contribution to the project was that each household would purchase a bottle of soap to bring to the training. I targeted primarily women who were mothers/female head of the household to come to the training. Due to the size of my village (1,500 people) is would be impractical to have everyone attend.
With the targeted group in attendance, the idea would be diffused to their children and husbands. However, the targeted group was most important because they are the ones who prepare/handle food for the family and are most at risk of passing on pathogens related to lack of sanitation.
The training was carried out in collaboration the local health relais from the health post and they were the ones who spoke to insure that what was being said not only made sense but came from a source within the community to give it greater meaning. The participants were then asked to impart the knowledge gained on others who prepare food and also on their families as a whole.
Follow-up in the months since has revealed that the majority of latrines continue to have a bottle of soap near them. I have been told by numerous people that their family members are healthier and that they are happy that their fields are cleaner.
The latrines have reduced the amount of open defecation in the village and the training has helped reduce the amount of sickness in each household.
Overall it has proved to be a major success, so much so that people from all the villages around have approached me with the possibility of constructing latrines in the outlying areas.
We wish to thank Eric for completing this extremely ambitious and cost-effective project, and again extend our gratitude to The
Soneva SLOW LIFE Trust
for providing the funding.