ODF sustainability remains a challenge in Dowa

Corbelled latrines take 15 -20 years without collapsing and prevent deforestation-Lwesya

(Pic: A girl trained to wash hands after visiting the corbelled latrine at Elisa village in the area of T/A Chakhaza)

Open Defecation Free [ODF] status in Dowa remains a challenge due to the increased collapse of pit latrines, weak soils, and termite damage, among other causes.

World Vision Malawi has started promoting low-cost sanitation technologies in Kasangazi Area Development Program in the area of Traditional Authority Chakhaza in the district that are user-led and have been more successful in sustaining Open Defecation Free communities.

In 2017, Kasangazi WASH project introduced the Sanitation Business Model of ensuring that households adopt low-cost sanitation technologies, a new technology required to balance both demand and supply of sanitation products and services such as Corbelled Latrines, locally known as ‘’Mwamuna Apumule’’.

(Pic: Dowa District Hospital's Environmental Officer, Joseph Lwesya...women taking a big role in Corbelled latrines)

Dowa District Hospital’s Environmental Officer, Joseph Lwesya, who is coordinating the WASH project in Kasangazi ADP, said women are the most victims of poor household sanitation and the fast adopters once empowered saying women need special human dignity.

Lwesya said in Dowa communities, almost each household woman belongs to a certain savings group hence, Corbelled latrines are targeting these groups to ensure gender inclusion in sanitation.

He said Corbelled latrine employs village savings and loan groups and in this project, they are known as Sanitation Savings groups based in their respective villages.

“Corbelled latrines take 15 -20 years without collapsing and prevent deforestation. Its walls do not need any cement only local mortars with digging done by the women themselves, hence the name, Mwamuna Apumule is driven from,” Lwesya said.

He thanked World Vision Malawi for complimenting government efforts towards improving sanitation among the rural households, expressing hope that the new initiative developed and adopted in Kasangazi ADP, will go to other parts of the district for the sustainability of ODF.

Between 2018 and 2019, the project has trained 500 households in Kasangazi Area Development Program on the financing and construction of Corbelled latrines, Mwamuna Apumule, the training empowered the women to extend their skills to the rest of the households.