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Somalia, 10 August 2016: Proud mother builds first latrine in village to safeguard her children’s health

© UNICEF Somalia/2016
Nishey, and her three children outside their new latrine.

LUUQ, Somalia, 10 August 2016 – Nishey, who lives in rural South West Somalia, became very concerned that her three children were constantly sick with diarrhoea and realized it was because everyone in their village defecated in the open.

So she has now become the first household in Luuq Qudey village in Gedo to build a latrine with a place to wash hands. This followed a meeting with a local NGO Somalia Humanitarian Relief Action who discussed the importance of latrines for the whole community.

“I realised we have been eating each other’s faeces which leads to diseases like diarrhoea and means we spend a lot of money on medication. I built this latrine so that my children don’t get sick. I asked my relatives for help in building it and we did it ourselves without paying anyone to help,” said Nishey.

She says the new toilet has changed their lives.

“I travel less distance to go to the toilet and I am not worried about leaving the children alone for so long,” she said. “If necessary I use a spade to collect children faeces and dump them into the latrine. My compound is clean and does not smell as before.”

In rural areas of Somalia, open defecation is estimated at 56 per cent (2015), an improvement from 83 per cent in 2010, but still extremely high. Only a quarter of households have sanitation facilities within 10 metres and few rural households safely dispose of a child’s faeces. The prevalence of open defecation is a high risk for contaminating water supplies and nearly a quarter of children suffer from diarrhoea at any one time.

UNICEF is supporting the Open Defection Free approach by working with local NGOs and engaging communities to understand the vital importance of proper sanitation. It is also encouraging community self-reliance in building sanitation facilities rather than relying on outside agencies to build latrines.

 

 
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