Ilmi - A Champion in Puntland for Sanitation
by Dinesh Bajracharya, Shire Village Puntland
7 March 2014 - Ilmi Farah Muse has spear headed a revolution in sanitation in her small village in Qardho 150 kilometres from Puntland’s capital Garowe. Previously her village, Shire, was like many in Puntland where a large proportion of the population have no access to improved sanitation facilities. In rural areas of Somalia over half the population defecate in the open.
In 2013 UNICEF began supporting a local NGO, Tadamun Social Society (Tass) to implement a sanitation program in Shiire which includes garbage collection, school hygiene education and Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS). CLTS is an innovative methodology for mobilising communities to completely eliminate open defecation using their appropriate local solutions rather than simply providing latrines.
Ilma, who has 10 children, was one of five facilitators trained on CLTS and she became chair of the local Sanitation and Hygiene Committee and a champion of the CLTS program.
In Shire village, the sanitation program began in November 2013 with a triggering event to raise awareness of the consequences of open defecation. Once the community were convinced of the harmful effects of open defecation which is a major factor in many water and sanitation related diseases such as diarrhea, cholera and typhoid they agreed to take action. As a first step, they agreed to renovate and use the 70 toilets which were built before the sanitation programme was introduced. They also decided to construct an additional 45 latrines so that all the 150 households would have access to latrines. The village also introduced a solid waste management program to ensure all families dispose of their household waste in an area away from their homes. The headmaster of the local school noted that “ this village is now cleaner than before”.
Ilmi has not only initiated programmes on hygiene and sanitation. She is a strong advocate for the Go 2 School programme to get children into education. Under her leadership, Shire village has also started projects on peace building, environmental protection and regulations and penalties for criminal acts. Shire village is now seen as a model for others in Puntland.