Ethiopian woman pioneers use of washable toilet slabs in her town


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Tegab Dessie has pioneered the purchase and use of washable toilet slabs in her town.

Tegabe Dessie lives in the Amdework town of Dehana woreda, Ethiopia. In Amdework, having a toilet is one of the government's requirements for the newly established houses.

Before she built her own, Tegab used to use a shared toilet. She was uncomfortable to visit the toilet several times a day although the owners were willing to share their toilet happily. Investing in thousands for constructing the pit, she was planning to construct the slab and the superstructure with wood plastered with mud as her neighbours do. However, one of the members of Edget Besera Toilet Slab Producers’ Association, organised by six TVET college graduated young women in Dehana Woreda, told her about the washable slab.

“I was not well aware of the technology before. When Endehafetesh, chairperson of a slab producing youth association, told me about the benefits of a concrete slab, I was eager to have a long serving toilet which will also serve for shower” said Tegab. 

Based on the information she received, Tegab paid the price and the sanitation marketing centre members installed the slab. What made her toilet different from the others is the washable slab made of concrete.

“When the girls were installing the slab, they told me that it is possible to transfer the slab to the new location if the toilet fills. I’m sharing this information with my neighbours”, said Tegab. The association also explained that people are showing interest in investing in the technology to prevent their traditional toilet from collapsing and can see how Tegab's family is benefitting from this type of toilet.  

Endehafetesh Tekeba said that the group used various types of promotion techniques. One of the techniques is door-to-door promotion. “We are using every opportunity to promote our products. All of us were jobless. Unless we produce and sell more, we will remain unemployed”, remarked Endehafetesh.

SNV Ethiopia together with the zonal government and ORDA established six sanitation marketing centres with six members in the six implementation woredas of the Sustainable Sanitation and Hygiene for All project in 2015. After establishing the centers, the project partners built the capacity of the youth with technical and business training for two weeks, provided working tools, seed money and working sheds. After a year, the project provided refresher training, replacing the members who have left for searching better job opportunities.

These sanitation marketing centers will serve community members like Tegab to have improved access to affordable sanitation products and services; and increased access to hygiene and sanitation information.

The groups are also promoting the sanitation and hygiene products such as handwashing facilities and services in collaboration with existing government structures of health and education sectors to create more demand among the community.