And a safe latrine at that!
Rubbish strewn across streets, open defecation and dishevelled & dangerous-looking latrines are commonplace in South Sudan. Excrement and rubbish seep into water sources and cause diseases such as pneumonia and diarrhea which are particularly lethal for the under 5s: in South Sudan, 1 in 7 children die before they are 5. Without good education from trusted sources, nothing will change.
Sounding the Trumpet
AID has initiated and now supports the Trumpeter Community Health Project; a group of volunteers, sourced from local churches who work with communities to transform sanitation practices. The Trumpeters visit families in their homes, try to understand their attitudes and beliefs towards sanitation and then go back with relevant lessons and techniques to help communities change. Often they find that families are not aware of the need to wash hands after going to the loo or before meals, they do not have or see the need for a toilet or know why it is important to how to drink clean water.
Volunteers correct thinking and also teach families how to make basic supplies such as oral re-hydration solutions, for children suffering from diarrhea, or chlorine solutions, which can be used to sterilise water and cooking utensils.
The Trumpeters have been well received by the community who have already taken on board much of the teaching. One family said that they now, “wash hands after every latrine visit,” another has started to, “use chlorine on drinking water and to clean utensils,” and another is now, “boiling drinking water.”
There is a general consensus that “The messages should go on!” And one commented, “finding people to spread the message face-to-face is so effective!”
There has been a noticeable drop in the cases of children under 5 with diarrhea and in “open defecation” sites (where people go to the toilet outside).
We give thanks to God for the effectiveness of this programme, for the provision of many willing and faithful volunteers and the way in which communities have accepted the training on how to change their sanitation practices. Please continue to pray for the spread of this project and that it would contribute to national stability.