Soucoto Health Hut Latrine Project – Senegal

Soucoto, Tambacounda Region, Senegal

Community Description
Soucoto is a small Jaxanke village of 750 individuals, 70 km from the regional capital, Tambacounda, on the edge of the Nikola National Park. Over half of the village is part of one family unit, making it a very sharing and interdependent community. The entire village is Muslim, and the elders travel to a nearby village, Dialacoto, on holy days to pray, as there is no mosque in Soucoto.

There is a three-room elementary school, health hut, and two very small boutiques in Soucoto. The health hut has been open for half a year, but has made over 800 consultations.

The most common diseases are malaria, diarrhea, basic cold and skin diseases. There is one health worker and a matron. There is no technology being used, as there is no electricity in the community.

The vast majority of the population is composed of subsistence farmers, whose crops consist of maize, peanuts and corn. Peanuts are harvested in November and serve as the main monetary income for the remainder of the year. During the cooler season, women plant smaller gardens allow them to sell vegetables as extra income.

The local diet consists of rice, millet, peanuts, leaves and occasional seasonal vegetables. The lack of nutrient-rich food hinders the health of everyone in Soucoto, and under-nutrition is rampant.

Most households have a latrine which is shared among all of its family members, ranging from 5 to 30 individuals. This discourages children from using a proper bathroom, and they typically go to the woods to defecate.

The health hut has no latrine.

Causeries have been held in the space in front of the health hut, but due to the absence of shade, viewers were distracted, hot and uncomfortable.

Project Description
This project is to build a latrine at the health hut. In addition, a shade structure will be constructed.

Community members will dig the 2 meter by 2 meter pit. A mason trained in building a VIP (Double Ventilated Latrine) will cement-line the pit, build the platform, and build the brick structure.

The shade structure will be constructed of wood, in collaboration of the mason and the community members.

Water Charity funds will be used to purchase all the materials, including bricks, cement, piping, fixtures, and the door, and pay for the labor of the masons.

The community will gather gravel and sand for the latrine and wood for the shade structure.

Project Impact
All 750 community members of Soucoto will benefit from the project.

Peace Corps Volunteer Directing Project
Janet Smith

This project will expand the types of services that can be provided by the health hut, thereby improving community health.

A latrine will allow for mothers to give birth at the health hut instead of in the unclean and unsafe environment of their homes. Additionally, having a proper latrine at the health hut will allow for patients who are ill to spend time under the supervision of a trained professional, rather than go home unassisted after a consultation.

A shade structure will provide shelter from the sun for community members to comfortably sit, listen, and participate in health discussions.

Dollar Amount of Project

We are no longer soliciting donations for this project. Funding has been secured through USAID PEPAM to build the latrine through their work. The advantage with this is that they have the resources to properly train the masons on building the latrine, ensuring the sustainability and durability of the project.