Follow us by email

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Ethiopia: Villagers Vote Unanimously For Better Sanitation

People who know us tend to think ‘clean water’. It’s true that clean water is foundational in much of our work with the poorest families in the world. In our experience, clean water is the thing that neglected communities most often identify as the lack that hurts the most. Anybody spending three to five hours a day collecting dirty water, anybody with chronic diarrhea, anybody who is too dehydrated to breast-feed will tell you: help us with clean water, if you want to help us at all.

But wherever we are working to bring clean water, we are also working to establish good health and sanitation practice. These two things — a clean water system right in the village, and villagers with habits like hand washing and latrine-use — together constitute the engine of real transformation. These two things mean radically healthier communities and families who really understand what it takes to remain strong and in control of their own well-being.

Villagers who work with us really do get it. A recent survey of the Ethiopian villages in Bonke district working with us on clean water initiatives encouraged us: every single family has dug a latrine following their health and sanitation training. Our goal for 90% of them to do so was handily exceeded. Once our immensely beloved community nurses teach them how to preserve their health, families are evidently passionate about putting their newfound knowledge into practice.

Clean water and good sanitation — it makes nothing but sense to pair these two things. Fortunately, wherever we are working with villagers to establish radically better health, they are signaling their agreement by the way they live their lives.

No comments: