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Flushing away the collapsing toilet

BMS World Mission wants to give people life in all its fullness everywhere… even when on the loo

Imagine sitting on a toilet seat made of twigs and mud. Things are going okay until you hear a sudden snap and then you are free falling into the dark depths of a pit latrine.

This lavatory nightmare is never going to happen in the UK, but it is an ever present danger for those living in rural communities in Uganda, where a toilet seat made with twigs and mud over a pit latrine is very common. The fear of the seat collapsing puts children off going to the toilet and the unhygienic set-up of these pit latrines can lead to families getting diarrhoea-related diseases like hookworms or cholera.

But help is at hand. BMS worker and water sanitation expert Tim Darby has been championing a better class of toilet seat, one which will not only stop the collapsing toilet nightmare, but will also make them more hygienic and provide business opportunities for local people too: the latrine slab.

Latrine slabs are square pieces of concrete with a key-shaped hole in the middle that can be put over simple pit latrines to improve their cleanliness and stability. They can be easily cleaned or wiped down and provide a more stable platform than sticks and mud.

One of the initial problems Tim faced was the difficulty of transporting the latrine slabs from the town, where they are usually sold, to the villages. To get round this, he came up with on the idea of training local people to make the slabs in their village and then sell them to their neighbours.

“We are trying to make them available so people can improve their livelihoods and take a step on the sanitation ladder,” says Tim. “They are given the equipment to make them and are supported in setting up a business in the villages where they come from.”

Teams from four communities have already attended a training course to learn how to make the latrine slabs. Tim taught some sessions on sanitary health and held discussions on social marketing, and Amos, a paralegal from BMS partner the Ugandan Christian Lawyers Fraternity (UCLF) and a former accountant, took a session on accounts and bookkeeping. Each day started with a devotion taken by one of the members of the training team or a guest.

“The training was very successful and all the teams can now make good quality slabs,” says Tim.

After the training, the equipment and supplies to make the latrine slabs were delivered to each community so they could start their new businesses.

This project is at an early stage, but let’s pray that it will help end the days of perilous trips to the toilet for rural Ugandans for good.

Pray for the new businesses set up to make and sell latrine slabs in Uganda, that they will be successful and be a good witness for the local churches.

Support Linda and Tim Darby by becoming a 24:7 Partner.

This article first appeared on the website of BMS World Mission and is used with permission  



BMS World Mission, 12/08/2015
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