Women meeting together to improve sanitation
Madeleine Yoda is a very active 40-year member of the Tenkodogo Wokokoma association. In 2002, she realized how miserable life was for local women and she decided to help them alleviate their poverty. She created the Wokokoma Association. In the beginning, nine women joined the association. They went to the surrounding villages to explain about the importance of mother and child welfare. They insisted on the importance of a good diet.
Little by little, Madeleine Yoda realized that the lack of hygiene was an important issue in Tenkodoko and in the nearby villages. She informed the mayor’s office and the health ministry. Together, they broadcast movies and radio programs about protective measures in case of a cholera epidemic, and about the importance of hygiene.
Some time later, UNICEF decided to support the association. Now women were trained on hygiene and sanitation. They were also trained about recycling plastic waste and management. More recently, the women realized that much of the trash was abandoned in front of houses or in yards. “This situation leads inevitably to catastrophic diseases” Madeleine Yoda explains.
So, to address this issue, Madeleine requested donkeys and carts from UNICEF and organized the collection of trash in the city and surrounding villages. The work is distributed among 3 groups of women. The first group explains the necessity of good sanitation to the community. Each week, the second group goes from house to house to collect trash. With carts and donkeys, they bring the trash to a dump. The third group recycles the waste into manure. The manure is later sold to farmers.
Trash collection is not free. Each householder who wants the service must subscribe and pay a fee of 500 francs (appreciatively U$1,00) per month. Stores must pay 1,000 francs and hotels 6,000 francs. At the end of each month, the association must balance its budget. “We pay our rent, and for cart maintenance and the care of the donkeys. When every bill is paid, we give each woman her 6000 franc salary” Madeleine Yoda says.
Tarnada Bienvenue is 25 years old. She has worked as a spokesperson for the association since it began. “Every morning I go from house to house to explain about the illnesses caused by dirty water and the absence of latrines. I also prospect for new costumers for the trash collection service. Thanks to this job, I can feed my children and I don’t depend on my husband” she says.
Augustine Zabsonré is another employee of the association. She is a secretary. She is in charge of collecting the subscribers’ money and planning the budget. “My husband is dead. Thanks to this job, I can send my 3 children to school”.
Today, there are 24 women and 2 men in the Wokoma Association. Madeleine Yoda feels proud of her association and she hopes that it will continue to grow. “There is so much more to do” she says.