HRH Chief Macha Honoured for Sanitation
UNICEF honours HRH Chief Macha for Community-Led Total Sanitation
LUSAKA, Zambia (27 July 2012/UNICEF) -- His Royal Highness Chief Macha of Choma has been named a UNICEF Zambia Supporter for Sanitation for his contribution to the success of Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS), a UNICEF-supported strategy to attain the Millennium Development Goals by increasing sustainable access to sanitation.
At a colourful ceremony in Choma last weekend and attended by senior Government officials, UNICEF’s Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa, Mr. Elhadj As Sy, said, “We are here to celebrate and honour one of Zambia’s champions in Community-Led Total Sanitation. In recognition of his leadership and contribution, UNICEF Zambia wishes that His Royal Highness, Chief Macha, of Macha Chiefdom in Choma District be honoured as a UNICEF Zambia Supporter for Sanitation.”
CLTS is a community-based strategy where villages and urban neighbourhoods work as a community to adopt improved sanitation and hygienic practices and construct latrines on their own. Through Chief Macha’s efforts, sanitation coverage in his chiefdom doubled from 50% to 100% in less than 2 years. Chief Macha’s chiefdom attained Open Defecation Free (ODF) status in November 2009, making it the first chiefdom in Africa to be so recognized. This success has been built upon since, thanks to Chief Macha’s influence, and other parts of the district, province and country are attaining ODF status, where each household builds and uses a toilet.
“I would also like to thank the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development, who earlier this year signed an agreement with UNICEF Zambia for £19 million (152 trillion Zambian Kwacha) over a period of four years in support of the government WASHE program that will enable 3 million people including 500,000 school children in the rural areas of Zambia to access improved sanitation. I also wish to acknowledge the Government of Netherlands for supporting national water and sanitation initiatives,” said As Sy.
“I wish to thank the Government of the Republic of Zambia for creating an environment in which the United Nations has been able to work in support of government efforts in bettering the lives of Zambians, especially the most vulnerable. Last, but not least I would like to acknowledge the people of Choma for embracing the CLTS approach, resulting in a cleaner and healthier environment,” said As Sy.
In his remarks, Chief Macha explained that CLTS encourages community members to map their neighborhood, marking houses, schools, churches, and shops, plus areas where defecation occurs. Wherever faeces are located, they are collected and a “Walk of Shame” through the village takes place. “It goes fast after that as they come quickly to understand that they are eating with unsafe sanitation practices,” he said.
Other dignitaries who attended the event include the Honourable Minister of Local Government and Housing Prof. Nkandu Luo, MP and the Honourable Minister of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs, Emerine Kabanshi, MP. A number of Southern province-based traditional leaders were also present.
“Since 2007, when CLTS was first introduced in Zambia, Chief Macha has embraced the new sanitation approach and used his influence as a traditional and community leader to help change the mind-set of his people to see the importance of building their own sanitation infrastructure with their own resources, in order to improve their economic standing, health and dignity,” said UNICEF Zambia Representative Dr. Iyorlumun J. Uhaa. “We are proud and excited that he is the first Zambian to be officially named a UNICEF Supporter.”
Chief Macha’s active and enthusiastic CLTS involvement has encouraged the participation of a wide range of stakeholders at district, provincial and national levels. He came up with the slogan “One Family, One Toilet” which has been adopted by the Government’s “Make Zambia Clean and Healthy” campaign, which is designed to improve sanitation across the country. Motivated by what Chief Macha did for his chiefdom, the neighbouring Mapanza Chiefdom in Choma has also now attained ODF status. Modelling what chief Macha did for his chiefdom, many more chiefs throughout Zambia are now involved in promoting sanitation in their chiefdoms.
Last October, Chief Macha was decorated by His Excellency, President Michael Chilufya Sata, and received the title Officer of the Order of Distinguished Service for his work promoting CLTS in his chiefdom in the Southern Province of Zambia. In 2009 for his work on CLTS, Chief Macha was recognized by the African Ministers’ Council on Water with its top Prize for Leadership, citing his “uniquely proactive manner to advocate for improved sanitation” in his native Zambia.
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