Towards Open Defecation Free communities in Eswatini

The Kingdom of Eswatini still has 10.7 per cent of the population practicing Open Defecation and 74 per cent without hand washing facilities.

Boniswa Dladla
Group of people standing outdoors
UNICEF Eswatini/2020
29 July 2020

The Kingdom of Eswatini still has 10.7% of the population practicing Open Defecation and 74% without handwashing facilities.  In this regard, the Environmental Health Department, World Vision and UNICEF have engaged six chiefdoms in Shiselweni and Lubombo regions to construct toilets and provide handwashing facilities using locally available materials.  The program has been active for a year and resulted in many households constructing and refurbishing existing latrines as well as installing handwashing facilities.

With the onset of COVID-19 the program has focused on intensifying the promotion of handwashing and installation of handwashing devices using locally available materials in 3566 households in both Shiselweni and Lubombo regions. The Ministry of Health Regional Open Defecation Free Certification team has certified 26 communities to be Open defecation free.

A quality assurance exercise will be conducted by the National Quality Assurance Team which will make recommendations for award of an Open defecation certificate by the Ministry of Health to communities that have met the criteria for certification.    

Home-made hand-washing facility
UNICEF Eswatini/2020
Household Entry Handwashing Stations as part of COVID-19 prevention

UNICEF joined the Ministry of Health Regional team in Ntuthwakwazi Chiefdom to conduct Certification of 6 communities that have followed the standard of being defecation free.

Communities have embraced the Open Defecation Free program and have taken up the COVID-19 prevention measures with most households installing Handwashing devices at the Household entrance.

On arrival at a Matse homestead the team met the head of the household who keenly observed the team and called back those who entered the household to wash hands before entering his yard “no one enters this homestead with diseased hands” he said with a stern voice.

UNICEF will continue providing support to the Ministry of Health to implement the Open Defecation programme to ensure that every household has and uses a toilet by 2023.