Buturyel: A Model Open Defecation Free (ODF) Commnuity
Five months ago, the first time visitor to Buturyel a tiny community in Bununu South Ward of Dass Local Government Area (LGA) in Bauchi state, northeast Nigeria was struck by the strong stench of human faeces.
Due to lack of household toilets/latrines, open spaces served as places for defecation. One had to wade cautiously through the scattered remains of human faeces to avoid stepping on them.
The nearest water point from which the community drank was five kilometers away and it was not a safe water source. The attendant burden of illness as a result of this behavior was high especially among children.
But all this changed when the community adopted the Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) approach introduced by the SHAWN project managed by UNICEF in September 2011. SHAWN stands for “Sanitation, Hygiene and Water in Nigeria”, a UK Aid supported project covering three Local Government Areas each in Bauchi, Benue, Jigawa and Katsina States.
Four months of implementing the Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) approach in Buturyel, an assessment team has declared the community Open Defecation Free (ODF). An excited Dahiru Abdullahi the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Committee (WASHCOM) Chairman of Buturyel said, “SHAWN has brought light to us in Buturyel”.
Indeed a visit to the community confirmed the improved hygiene behavior, all the hitherto defecation sites have disappeared. There is no more the litter of human faeces everywhere. The entire community of nearly 110 inhabitants smells nice and the stench resulting from open defecation has become history.
One striking feature of this community is the unique enthusiasm of their WASHCOM (even though only recently constituted). The community’s only source of drinking water is a seasonal stream which serves them for about five months of the year. Another source of drinking water during the dry season is in the neighbouring village called Gajuwal, about five kilometers away. Women and children have to trek to Gajuwal to fetch water during this period.
To ameliorate the situation Buturyel community on their own, through the efforts of their WASHCOM procured a hand pump and is looking forward to drilling and installing the pump. The village head Mallam Abdullahi Jibrin remarked “Our parents lived here without our own water source neither did they experience building and use of household latrines as we now have. My prayer is that at least we will get our own water before my time to go; if we achieve this, I am fulfilled” It is now obvious that with the necessary support from SHAWN Mallam Abdullahi Jibrin’s dream of owning their own water source is not far from becoming reality.
As the Commissioner for Water Resources and Rural Development, Alhaji Sani Mohammed Bura, flagged off the 2011 Global Hand Washing Campaign, he held up Buturyel as a model for other communities. “Now you have become a model community through SHAWN and the State government will not hesitate to send other communities here for learning”, he said.