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Zambian Chief Decorated by President for Work on Sanitation

Zambia's president Michael Chilufya Sata confers the Order of Distinguished Service: Third Division on Leornard Munasangu, Chief of the Macha chiefdom.

LUSAKA, Zambia, 24 October 2011( UNICEF) – For his efforts in support of Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS), Zambia's President Michael Chilufya Sata has conferred on Chief Macha the Order of Distinguished Service, Third Division during an investiture ceremony held today at State House, marking Zambia’s Independence Day. His Royal Highness received the title Officer of the Order of Distinguished Service for his work promoting Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) and achieving 100% open defecation free status in his chiefdom in the Choma District in the Southern Province of Zambia.

As a traditional leader, Chief Macha has used his status to advocate for improved sanitation with a multitude of stakeholders, from ministers of state to elected councilors, from fellow Chiefs to rural households.

“I am grateful to the people of Macha, for their achievements. I am grateful to UNICEF for facilitating CLTS to improve sanitation and hygiene situation in Zambia. I am grateful to Government of Zambia to facilitate the process with UNICEF. This achievement is not mine, it belongs to the people of Macha, the people of Zambia,” Chief Macha said.

In an interview after receiving his national award – one of 35 Zambian citizens decorated by President Stata today – Chief Macha said, "Now that Macha Chiefdom is 100% ODF (open defecation free), what next? The whole of Zambia. My task is to see that sanitation is scaled up. Scaling up sanitation is a question of convincing other people."

Chief Macha has been a long and strong support of CLTS, a UNICEF supported strategy to attain the Millennium Development Goals by increasing sustainable access to sanitation. CLTS is a community-led strategy where households in villages or urban neighborhoods adopt hygienic sanitation behavior by using latrines constructed by themselves without any external subsidy.

“We have to break the taboos. We need to provoke people, create a sense of disgust,” Chief Macha said explaining that CLTS encourages community members to map their neighborhoods, marking houses, schools, churches, and shops, plus areas where defecation occurs. Wherever faeces are located, it is 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. In 2009 for his work on CLTS, Chied Macha was also 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.

His Royal Highness Chief Macha of the Tonga Kingdom, Choma District, remains the only chiefdom in Zambia to be ODF, due in part to his leadership a nearby chiefdom is expected to be certified ODF on 18 November, World Toilet Day.

“UNICEF and its partners want Zambia to be ODF by 2014 and I believe we can get there if we start running to reach the MDGs,” said UNICEF Zambia Representative Dr. Iyorlumun J. Uhaa. “This is part of the great significance of Chief Macha’s decoratation by His Excellency, President Sata. It represents the highest political commitment to CLTS. UNICEF congratulates Chief Macha for his well deserved honour.”

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For 60 years UNICEF has been the world’s leader for children, working on the ground in 155 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations, and governments.

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