HOME AWAY FROM HOME

Leila Florence is a 28-year-old woman and South Sudanese refugee resettled in Omugo, refugee settlement since 2018. She recounts her ordeal: “When we were brought, life was very difficult. On arrival, there were no latrines for individual households. Shared latrines were constructed by different partners and these were used by more than 20 households.” A household consists of 5 people on average.

Florence says that shared latrines were not well maintained given the big number of people using them. Due to the unhygienic conditions of the latrines, she kept suffering from infections. She was therefore forced to excavate her own latrine because “a home is not a home when there is no latrine” she says. This was through borrowing digging tools from community members who arrived earlier in 2017 and had been supported by other partners. Unfortunately, the tools were old and could not excavate to a depth of three metres as recommended by Oxfam following the World Health Organization standards . The latrine she constructed lasted only two months because it was shallow.

Oxfam trained hygiene promoters who were responsible for following up with hygiene and sanitation promotional activities at community level, conducted community engagement meetings, and also offered direct support in form of latrine construction materials.“We were supported with digging kits to help in pit excavation,” says Florence.

A digging kit comprises three of each of the following items: metallic buckets ,nylon ropes, crow bars ,pick axes, spades and brick laying moulds. One kit is given to 10 households . Other latrine construction materials include dome-shaped slabs ,poles ,nails and doors.

After excavating the pit ,Florence was given one dome shaped slab, nails ,four poles and a door which she used to construct a new latrine. “Now that I have my own latrine ,I am very happy and enjoying my home.”

Her home is now very organized because she has all the needed sanitation facilities — latrine ,bath shelter, hand-washing facility ,drying rack, rubbish pit and a kitchen. Florence is enjoying her life and requests Oxfam to continue with the support .

Oxfam is implementing a two-year project funded by European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO). The project aims to improve access to safe water, clean and functional sanitation facilities, and knowledge on health-promotion and good hygiene practices.