Reported by the Swift Consortium / Tearfund
Fikiri Madisi, age 42 and father of nine children is a teacher. “On the return from our displacement camps, we had no toilets and bathrooms or clean water,” he reports, remembering his early return to Congo after a decade of refuge life. Fikiri lives in Mwandiga, a small village located in Baraka, a southern territory of the South Kivu province in the DRC. With no clean water and no bathrooms, Fikiri’s family went to the bush or the lake. He explains, “After nine years of refuge, we had no house, no bathroom or toilet, but with the different teachings we received from the Community Health Club (CHC) we acquired an advantage to gain skills so we can build our own toilet for our families”.
Fikiri says that in the Community Health Club he has learned the importance of toilets and knowledge of hygiene practices. Since he built a toilet in his compound, there has been a decrease of diseases in his family and the children are now living without major threat of diarrhoea and other related diseases. His future plan is to continue practicing the knowledge he has been taught in the CHC.
Empowering CHC members to use their new skills as well as the community’s existing resources in order to tackle issues of water access was the main goal of this project, which Tearfund is working on as part of the SWIFT consortium and funded by the Department for International Development in the UK. CHC members are trained in safe latrine construction and good hygiene practices to share with the other members of their household. Through this approach, the lives of the target communities are improved through the reduction of waterborne diseases, which is a major morbidity among the target communities and a strain on their time and resources. Improvement of water sources in the communities is intended to attain SPHERE and WHO standards of water quality and quantity, and reduce the distance from households to the water sources, and waiting time at the source.