The Luapula Province sits in Zambia’s northeast wing, nestled up against the Democratic Republic of Congo with Lake Mweru at its northernmost tip. It is a heavily populated area thanks to a rich fishing tradition and the fertile soil that supports the production of palm oil. For such a dense area though, the sanitary facilities in this area were few and open defecation was the common practice. The soil there is loose and sandy in some parts, making the construction of latrines difficult. There are longstanding cultural taboos that prevent the discussion of toilet use, and the idea of many people using the same place to defecate strikes many as uncouth. One of the main factors, previously unexplored, was the fact that the villages’ traditional leadership – figures such as village headmen and chiefs – had not been actively involved in pushing their villages to become open defecation free (ODF).
The Akros WASH team has been recognized again for their work in the Community-Led Total Sanitation Program. The May issue of the Zambia National Sanitation Programme’s newsletter contributes the entire first page to highlighting the progress in sanitation health across the country spearheaded by the Akros team.
In an excerpt from the newsletter, the author writes:
Akros developed an innovative and concise surveillance platform using low-cost mobile phones combined with simple protocols for reporting and analysis – protocols which could be easily managed by local counterparts. The protocols and tools were piloted in September of 2013, then rapidly scaled through October and November. … These numbers are impressive, in fact unprecedented, for the sub-Saharan Africa region. Even more impressive is that the Akros WASH team has achieved these gains at a fraction of the normal cost for CLTS management.
Click here to read the full newsletter.