Chief Mukobela tells of how his chiefdom attained ODF status in a single year

By Maswabi Precious Matantilo on December 16, 2014 in Water and Sanitation Health

Chief Mukobela is one of the first chiefs to attain open defecation free status (ODF) for his chiefdom in Zambia. Having attained ODF status in 2013 after the community led total sanitation programme (CLTS) was introduced in 2012, His Royal Highness has gone beyond and has begun working on a sustainable approach to maintain adequate sanitation in his chiefdom. He has since begun partnering with the Government of Zambia and Akros in ensuring that sanitation marketing and school-led total sanitation is a reality in his chiefdom, an indication of his great commitment towards stopping open defecation.

To many chiefs in Zambia, attaining ODF status in their chiefdom is seen as a challenging process. This has been attributed to the deep-rooted cultural behaviours that prevent them from defecating in a toilet. These behaviours are said to take a process to unlearn.

Some chiefs have even gone to the extent of putting up stringent measures aimed at ending open defecation such as charging a fee to subjects who refuse to comply with building a latrine as well as threatening them with the law.