Conclusion of Saare Boyli Latrine Project – Senegal

This project has been completed under the direction of Peace Corps Volunteer Anna Alsobrook.

To read about the beginning of the project, CLICK HERE.

The project was to build 15 latrines for the community.

Anna reports:

The primary objective of this project was to visibly reduce the rate of diarrhea, and also provide for 100% latrine usage rate in Saare Boyli. In order to achieve this objective, we planned on building a total of thirteen douches, all of which were supposed to reach the families that were unable to participate in the first latrine project.

The first stage of the implementation process was to hold a meeting with the intended families to see if they were willing to participate. It also laid out the expectations for each participating family. Each douche owner was to pay 2000 CFA, dig their own holes, and provide the rocks and water for the mason.

Each family consented to the conditions, and promised to reach their goals in a timely manner. All materials were then purchased in Koumpentoum and transported back to village two days after the initial meeting. Supplies were stored in an extra hut.

The next step was then to collect each family’s cotisation and have them begin digging their holes. Each hole was to be 1 meter in diameter and 3-4 meters down. No douche was to be placed within 60 meters of the well. (There was no danger of interference with the water table, as it is approximately 66 meters deep.)

Collection of the cotisations was slow, as was the hole-digging. After several weeks, readjustments to the original plan, and new families that were motivated enough to work for their douches, holes were dug and cotisations paid. Two families decided to do the actual construction themselves, and in turn received the 2,500 CFA for doing the mason’s labor. Construction finally ended and all transactions completed just prior to the peak of rainy season.

After construction of the douches, the ICP of Koutiaba, the local relais and I held a causerie that demonstrated the importance of hand washing and overall cleanliness for improved hygiene, and thus, improved health. It also focused on general prevention and treatment methods for diarrhea.

Anna discusses the outcome:

The results of this project are multi-faceted. While we did not reach the goal of 100% of compounds having douches, all of the villagers are now aware of the importance of having a latrine for one’s health. They are all also aware of the steps necessary to build a new latrine or to repair a collapsed one.

General results include an increased number of villagers no longer defecating in the bush, as well as lower recorded instances of diarrhea. The handwashing and diarrhea causerie helped promote the importance of using soap when washing hands as well as the relationship between good hygiene and good health.

To encourage good behavior from a younger age, I plan to do more hygiene demonstrations at the local primary school, especially focusing on hand washing with soap. I am also currently looking into construction of a handwashing station at the school, accompanied by appropriate health-related murals.

We wish to thank Anna for completing this project, and again extend our gratitude to The Soneva SLOW LIFE Trust for providing the funding.