Conclusion of MballoCoundaThierno Latrine Project – Senegal

This project has been completed under the direction of Peace Corps Volunteer Jenae Woodward. To read about the beginning of the project, CLICK HERE.

The original project design was to repair 6 bathrooms at the school and build a latrine for the teachers. Due to unforeseen circumstances, the project was modified to do a more complete repair of the student bathrooms and improve the well, putting off until a future time the construction of the latrine for teachers.

Jenae reports:

The repair of the 6 student bathrooms consisted of replacing doors, unclogging toilets, and constructing water basins.

The doors were built using zinc and wood frames, and then supported by metal and cement to guarantee they would stay attached. The ceramic cases on each toilet were removed in order to unclog them.

The project was carried out successfully though we ran into a few problems that changed the anticipated outcome. The school director played an integral role in completing this project.

Due to the lack of masons and plumbers available in the town closest to us, we brought workers in from the district capitol, located 30 kilometers away. This increased the original price for all mason and plumbing work.

When the plumber came to unclog the drains, we discovered that one toilet had been shattered and needed to be completely replaced. This unforeseen cost increased our total amount by 100$. After having a meeting, the community decided to use the funds originally allocated to the teachers toilet to repair this toilet instead.

Another problem that arose before the completion of this project was another unforeseen cost. Due to the current drought and a poorly constructed well, the school well was drying up. Without access to water, the restoration project could not be successful.

After another community meeting, it was decided to dig the well an additional two meters in depth, to provide students with more water, and then build a cover to protect it. The cost to carry this out was $120. It was difficult to find a well digger who would not charge a fortune, so this alone ended up postponing the original finish date of the project.

After it was completed we ended up providing the school with two water filters and each classroom with a bucket to store drinking water. We also purchased a barrel that could be used to store water near the toilets.

The outcome of this project has been successful, as it has met the projected goals and provided students of the MballoCoundaTheirno community access to clean water and the ability to use the restroom in a safe and sanitary place.

We finished up the project with a training that taught students how to properly flush toilets, wash hands, and keep the restroom clean. The teachers have done a fantastic job at holding students accountable and keeping the bathrooms closed after school hours. If this continues, the project will be sustainable and provide future students with an opportunity to remain healthy and prevent illnesses linked to poor sanitation.

Although the project took longer than expected and had to be altered to fit the needs of the community, I believe the success can be used as an example for other projects within the area. I hope to share this project with other volunteers and encourage them to implement a similar program when it comes to battling sanitation problems.

We are grateful to Jenae for completing this project, and to The Soneva SLOW LIFE Trust, together with Jenae’s friends and family, for providing the funding.