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Stop open defaecation and purchase cheaper toilet today

 

BY PRIESTLEY HABRU

Live and Learn staff and some journalists outside the Henderson demonstration toilet house.

WHEN you fail to notice blue flies swarming your uncovered food after feasting from human wastes disposed carelessly in nearby bushes or beaches; then you know very well what you will be eating and the consequences thereafter.

Apologies for the vulgar description but that is how ignorant we can be as Solomon Islanders who seem to treat open defaecation as normal.

White sandy beaches near our coastal villages are used as toilet. Tall grasses behind betel-nut markets in Honiara are already no-go zones. Even the concrete sea wall at Honiara Central Market seaside is a familiar scene of human poo deposited everywhere as if to show-off their previous day’s fresh consumption.

Lack of public toilets in our local urban cities and villages; and public displaying of human wastes in nearby bushes and public areas is a national disgrace. To add to the national shame is our ignorance to prioritise sanitation and hygiene. We tend to leave this responsibility to the government and aid donors to build the toilets for us.

This ignorant attitude has intruded permanently into our brains which led us to think that even spending our time and energy into digging holes in the ground to deposit our own waste matter is a total waste of time.

However there are some communities and provinces whose cultures prioritise owning of toilets by each family and ban open defaecation in the bushes and beaches. For instance, open defaecation especially on the beaches is totally disrespectful in the culture of Renbel Province people.

Live and Learn staff and local journalists visiting the Henderson Community Sanitation Enterprise office area.

So it should be time we take the onus to prioritise toilets in order to deposit properly what we previously consume. In doing so we respect ourselves with pride and dignity in allowing our wastes to be properly disposed away from the prying flies, cockroaches and insects that love to prey on human waste and in return give us diseases that could have been easily prevented.

The task ahead to eventually have all communities and households own toilets is still a difficult one but can be achieved if we take the bold step forward now.

Solomon Islands Rural Water Sanitation and Hygiene (RWASH) National Base Line Survey in 2015 indicated that only 13 percent of the population have access to basic sanitation facilities, the rest is open defaecation. This means a staggering 87 percent of our population still use the bushes, beaches, rivers, mangroves, mountains and so forth as latrines.

Proper toilets alone will not solve the problem but we also need to have access to clean water as well in consideration of our women, children, older people and those with disabilities.

According to RWASH, access to safe water is important in the reduction of diarrhoeal diseases and many other ill health conditions as well as improved livelihoods.

“Access to safe sanitation also eliminates many diseases and health conditions and is a very important indicator of human progress,” RWASH stated.

It was against this backdrop that Live and Learn Solomon Islands is embarking on a four year Community Based Sanitation Enterprise piloted in Henderson in East Honiara and Namoliki in Central Honiara since 2014.

Solomon Islands Live and Learn WASH Project Manager Mrs Hilda Tango said under the Western Pacific Sanitation Innovation Programme (WPSIP) the two peri-urban communities of Henderson and Namoliki have been engaged in constructing two types of toilet raisers namely the Ventilated Improved Pits (VIP) and Pour Flush. The third one is the normal slabs.

The Pour Flash toilet

Services provided by both Henderson and Namoliki community sanitation enterprise are construction, installation and maintenance of the toilets.

“They also assist customers to identify safe and right spot to locate toilet to ensure that water points are far enough from the toilet. The two sanitation enterprises are now operating and should you wish to contact or visit the offices they will be more than happy to receive you,” Mrs Tango said.

She noted that within the 11 zones in Henderson, 49 percent are still without toilets and 20 percent of people within the four zones of Namoliki are still without proper toilets.

Mrs Tango reiterated that since its mini-launching in February this year, seven have been sold by the Henderson Community Sanitation Enterprise and one prospecting with some interests already been coming in from Uhu Village, West Are’are.

Namoliki Community Sanitation Enterprise has just started constructing the two types of toilet raisers and will soon start selling their products.

Stephen Alick, Centre Manager of Henderson Community Sanitation Enterprise said he and his Finance Officer Julie Sau operate from their small office at Henderson and those interested in purchasing the toilet raisers can contact them to make their orders.

Those from Namoliki, Aekafo and nearby areas can contact Joana Kwalea to purchase your toilet raisers.

Samples of the toilets constructed by Namoliki Community Sanitation
Enterprise.

Money raised from selling these toilets are deposited into bank accounts set up by these two communities’ enterprises to keep the sanitation business flowing.

The VIP toilet type costs $339 each whilst the Pour-Flush raiser is selling at $651 each. The slab type is only $110.

The good thing is that when you make your order for the toilet raiser, the staff from the two enterprises will help you identify the proper location to build your toilet house and they would also provide construction and maintenance services.

Prices of the toilets are very reasonable compared to smart phones which are so expensive that accumulates and drains your wallet each time you top-up credits to make calls, texting and browse the internet.

The flipside is that it is disgraceful a sight when you are using and showing off with your smart phone but do not have a proper toilet at home. Even so embarrassing is seeing yourself squatting in the nearby bush or beach whilst texting or commenting ‘lol’ on Facebook.

We all should be ‘lols’ or ‘Laughing Out Loud’ to ourselves for not owning or having proper toilets back in our villages or where we live in town where we retire each day for the night.

So wake up now and contact Solomon Islands Live and Learn staff at their office in New China Town to connect you with Joana of Namoliki and Stephen of Henderson to purchase a brand new cheap toilet facility for your use at home.

Having proper toilets would reduce our chances of contracting preventable diseases like diarrhoea and never attract dirty blue flies to ever feast on our delicious food again.

Rivers and bushes are being used as toilets everywhere in Solomon Islands.
Stephen Alick, left, and Joana Kwalea are Centre Managers for Henderson
and Namoliki Sanitation Enterprises respectively.
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