World Toilet Day – The Androy Region is becoming the first certified ODF region of Madagascar

26 November 2021
Toilettes dans le Sud

Antananarivo, 26 November, 2021 – World Toilet Day is an important celebration for UNICEF, given its mandate to lead the fight against open defecation. This year in particular, UNICEF and the Ministry of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (Ministry of WASH) joined forces with local authorities in the Androy Region to mark the event, as the area aims to become the first certified ODF (Open Defecation Free) region of Madagascar by the end of 2021. A restitution workshop about the health profile of the district of Ambovombe was carried out with the aim of advocating institutional engagement, involving all participants, in particular the Governor of the Region, the Prefect of the Region, representatives of some institutions, mayors of some communes and the fokontany Chiefs of the peripheral area.

Indeed, even marked by drought and famine, positive behaviour change regarding the use of healthy and clean latrines and toilets is increasingly a reality in Androy. “The practice has been part of the customs, acceptable social norms since the tribe’s existence. There are even certain beliefs stating that it is taboo to dig up the land belonging to ancestors to put the excreta. But the interventions of UNICEF and its partners have changed the situation. Facilitations are conducted to raise awareness of the advantages of using clean and odour-free latrines among the villagers,” said the Governor of the Region, Dr. Soja Lahimaro.

The 2018 MICS survey reveals that nearly 10 million Malagasy people, or nearly 40% of the population, still defecate in the open air. But still, the majority of them live in the Androy Region, in the South. The situation is a source of several problems, one of the obstacles to development, in particular the spread of diarrheal diseases or even water pollution, which is a rare commodity.

The results have been concrete since July 2021 where more than 18 municipalities have stopped open defecation and have been cleaned up since October, bringing the number of municipalities certified ODF to 38 in November. The interventions of UNICEF and its partners continue and are being rolled out to the twenty remaining municipalities, to make the region the first one throughout Madagascar to have its ODF certification. “In almost eight weeks, habits have completely changed in my town. Households build their own latrines, thus helping to disseminate the practice and encouraging the community to adopt it,” said the Mayor of the Commune of Ambondro, one of the recently certified communes.

Media contacts

Timothy James Irwin
Chief of Communication
UNICEF Madagascar
Lalaina Ralaiarijaona
Communication officer
UNICEF Madagascar

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