After spending 9 weeks in Igongolo, it has become very clear that the community members place a lot of importance on having latrines both in their homes and in the village, and there are undoubtedly a number of benefits to having them.
Through constructing the latrines at the medical dispensary, we had several aims to achieve. The doctor assured us that the new toilets are simple and hygienic, and are therefore very suitable for the large number of community members, in particularly pregnant women, that will use the medical dispensary latrines.
One of the most important aspects of the new latrines is that they are sustainable and last a long time. This is because once the pit is full, a new one can be built and the plumbing can be re-diverted into the new pit. The doctor also stated that the new latrines have adequate privacy for use and, because they are flush latrines, they do not produce a bad smell, therefore suiting the needs of the large community that will benefit from them.
By completing household surveys at the start of project we were able to establish that the vast majority of homes in Igongolo have their own personal latrines and value these for many reasons.
When interviewing Aiden’s family – one of our host families – they underlined 3 main reasons as to why latrines are so important to households here. Firstly, it reduces the spread of diseases such as cholera and diarrhoea through ensuring that faeces are kept contained. Secondly, family safety was another important factor for them, as having a latrine at the house means that the family do not have to go far to use a toilet therefore ensuring that the children are safe, especially at night.
Finally, environmental conservation was the most important aspect for them. This is because through everyone in the village using a latrine, open defecation can be reduced. As a consequence, land and water sources no longer become polluted, thus maintaining a healthy and natural environment for the community.