Toilet tales and positive attitude change
Oxfam, together with Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) partners in emergencies came together to commemorate the World Toilet Day on 23rd November 2017, in Rhino Camp Settlement, Arua.
It was an interesting day filled with all forms of edutainment activities including music, drama and dance, all geared towards information sharing and creating awareness on the need for safe treatment and disposal of fecal waste, in line with the theme 'Toiles and Wastewater' the day also included recognising and celebratng community members who have become role models in setting examples of great hygiene practices.
Significance of World Toilet Day to a Public Health Pomoter
Some communities in the refugee settlements do not believe in latrine use. They claim that having more faeces in the compound shows wealth and capability to marry and sustain a home. This is the reason as public health promoters the bulk of our work involves changing mindsets and attitudes to prevent the spread of faecal-related diseases that are in households that are in close proximity.
Eight months into the EU funded household latrine construction campaign which aims to increase sanitation and latrine coverage within Rhino settlement key achievements include 51% latrine construction, motivated community members constructing latrines on their own with or without our support, use of community role models as examples as well community structures such as hygiene promoters, field based community mobilizers, Village Health Teams, Water User Committees, Women forum, protection, Refugee Welfare Councils.
The campaign has not been without challenges such as slow progress of household latrine construction and decommissioning of filled communal latrines in some villages in Omugo and Imvepi settlements.
Rocky, waterlogged and collapsible soils in some parts of the settlements has hindered pit excavation, consequently delaying the scaling up of latrine construction and inevitably presenting risks of toilet collapse.
What is our way forward?
As we move towards 100% latrine construction and use, we are working on developing a sustainability plan that is owned and championed by the community that informs policy at local and national levels.