The impact of poor sanitation in Mseko…

24th November 2014

Team Mseko discuss the impact of poor sanitation and hygiene practices in Mseko and tell us how the community feel the groups activities will improve the community in the future.

Equality, what defines it? Gender, race, sexuality? In the world that we live in with a population of 7 billion we still have communities that don’t have access to the simplest of necessities, such as a toilet. These are the communities and the people that Team Mseko are working with.

Whilst Team Mseko have been in their community they have witnessed some pretty poor sanitation and hygiene practices. For example, few young children use toilets and urinate and defecate in open spaces.  The impact of this is that the children are not washing their hands as they are not close to a hand washing facility. Open defection is fairly widely practiced as not all households have a toilet. Open defecation and poor toilets lead to environmental pollution which is harmful to the natural environment, for example one gram of human feaces contains up to 10 million viruses, 1 million bacteria and 100 parasitic eggs. 

If open defecation is practiced close to a water source this could contaminate it, having devastating consequences on the community that relies on it.  Furthermore, Team Mseko has seen children playing in areas where open defecation is practiced. 

Diseases such as worms and diarrhea are frequent occurrences for all members of the community.  These diseases cause them to suffer economically because they take time to recuperate after their illness.  As such, time spent on activities producing an income has been lost.  There is an additional loss of earnings as money is spent on treatment, medicines and transport to seek medical advice.  When income levels are so low this additional loss can cause the community to slide further into poverty.

Team Mseko have already seen positive changes in the community in a short time they have been with the community as seen at an awareness raising session organised by the team in the community. During this awareness raising session the knowledge of Team Mseko about good hygiene and sanitation practices combined with measures the Village Executive Office (VEO) wishes to implement has shown the positive attitude of Mseko towards initiating sustainable changes.  The VEO is implementing fines from the 14th November where if a family does not have a permanent toilet they will be fined 50,000 shillings - this is part of a government directive to be rolled out nationally.  Additionally, the VEO will independently issue a 5,000 shilling fine if a house does not have a tippy-tap.  The knowledge and awareness raising the team is helping to provide around the areas of good hygiene and sanitation is helping the community to understand the importance of using a toilet and good hand hygiene, promoting the use of toilets and tippy taps.  Team Mseko is hoping to create lasting change with their awareness raising campaigns in Mseko.  

The village leaders of Mseko have shown their positivity towards our work by their consistent enthusiasm and commitment towards sustainable change.  The VEO and community members have asked for the Team to help install tippy-taps, helping the community to implement new practices.  We feel we have initiated a positive change in behavior in Mseko.

The Impact of Team Mseko has already been seen and will continue to grow with the support of the village leaders of Mseko.  The VEO has expressed his positive attitude by saying: ‘Our village will strive to adapt to this positive image of change you have put forward.’