Conclusion of Dassa Family Latrine Project – Benin

Conclusion of Dassa Family Latrine Project - BeninThis project has been completed under the direction of Peace Corps Volunteer Brigitte Pohren. To read about the beginning of the project, CLICK HERE.

This project was to construct 25 pit latrines for low-income families in the community. Although there were delays, and the number of latrines had to be reduced, the project was a huge success.

Brigitte reports:

The goal of the project was to improve the hygiene and sanitation of the community through the construction of 25 family latrines, thereby reducing the incidence of preventable fecal-related illnesses. The families were chosen through a survey produced by the PCV and members of the NGO.

To be eligible for the project, each family agreed to the following:

  • Subscribe to yearly trash collection and make monthly payments.
  • Collect gravel, sand, and water for the cement mixture,
  • Dig a 3 m hole.
  • Provide the initial mason payment.
  • Build the latrine superstructure.
  • Provide space for the construction (minimum of 15 m between latrine and nearest water source).

The project began in January, 2011, and was not finished until April, 2012. The delay was due to weather, family participation, mason availability, cement access, and cost increases.

Benin experienced a particularly long rainy season, during which digging had to be suspended and the masons were not able to line the pits.

Some families discontinued the project due to family matters and the delays.

Mason availability became a problem when it was determined that there were only 3 masons available in the community who had been trained in the design of this type of latrine. Dividing the work and scheduling the labor presented a problem. A major problem was acquisition of the needed cement. A major cement factory went bankrupt, causing cement shortages throughout the country and a resultant increase in price.

In the end, the goals and objectives of the project were met, although only 20 latrines were completed.

Through project training sessions, all participants learned the basics of latrine construction, the benefits of latrine usage, as well as the essentials of latrine maintenance.

Project participants are expected to help spread the information on low-cost latrines to other families in need of hygiene and sanitation assistance, and the program is expected to continue.

We are grateful to Brigitte for completing this project, and again wish to thank The Soneva SLOW LIFE Trust for providing the funding.