A toilet at the price of three chickens.

Mr. Peun from Phongsaly province joins Lao PDR’s ambition to end open defecation by just paying the price of three chickens.

UNICEF Lao PDR
A village
UNICEF Laos/2019
17 March 2020

46-year-old Peun is a family man, who has a total of seven members in the family. He and his wife Seng, 30, are parents of three boys and two girls living in Yakha village of Mai District in Phongsaly Province.  The couple belong to Khermu ethnic group residing in Lao PDR’s northernmost province bordering China and Vietnam.

The couple are content with their life. They have a happy family and a small house, the only thing missing from their life was a toilet. They were part of the 24 per cent of Lao PDR’s total population who still practice open defecation. The country aims to achieve open defecation free status in near future, but only 28 per cent of children’s faeces are disposed safely.

Ending open defecation is the first step to achieving total sanitation. UNICEF’s Water, Sanitation and Hygiene programme supports the Lao Government in its effort to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), targeting most disadvantaged children and their families and ensuring they have equitable access to sustainable improved source of water and basic sanitation facilities in the hardest-to-reach areas.

 

“My daughters were never comfortable defecating out in the open. They always pressured me to build a toilet in our home just like others have in the village,” says 46-year-old Peun.

A man infront of a toilet
UNICEF Laos/2019

Peun was aware of the importance of having a toilet at home, as it was continuously stressed in meetings organized by community health officers in his village. His neighbors also could not stop talking about the convenience of having a toilet at home.

UNICEF has been working in Phongsaly Province for over a decade to improve water supply and promote behaviour change to end open defecation. With the support from UNICEF Japan National Committee, UNICEF has constructed 23,000 water supply schemes and built 3800 toilets so far. UNICEF’s impacted Peun’s family too.

Peun and his family were also convinced to join country’s sanitary drive by constructing a toilet. However, their main concerns were lack of water supply and the cost of construction. Issue of water supply was solved after UNICEF supported water supply system was constructed in 2019, meaning they will have sufficient supply of water for toilet.

Peun and his family were also convinced to join country’s sanitary drive by constructing a toilet. However, their main concerns were lack of water supply and the cost of construction. Issue of water supply was solved after UNICEF supported water supply system was constructed in 2019, meaning they will have sufficient supply of water for toilet.

“I always thought constructing a toilet is expensive and time-consuming.” However, after seeing his villagers construct a toilet through local resources, Peun decided to gift his family with one too.

He hired local masons from the village to build a toilet. To his surprise, the toilet was constructed with local materials in his yard within just three days and with a very small cost.

“I paid just 350,000 Kip* for the toilet. You get only three chickens with that price in my village,” laughs Peun.

The father of five experiences the convenience of having a toilet at home for his family every day. He feels paying price of three chickens for a toilet was a really good deal.

*1 USD = 8800 Kip