Nikuze Assouma, 65, is a widow living with her two grandchildren in Taba Village, Kanyinya Sector of Nyarugenge district. The village is inhabited by 28 families, or 120 people, that have been relocated by the government of Rwanda from high risk zones. Assouma has lived in the village for three years.
When Isuku Iwacu visited Taba village, the residents were using two shared public latrines that did not mum standards for sanitation as they lacked features such as doors, hand washing stations and pit covers. Moreover, some families had to walk about 800m from their houses to use the latrines. In the evening and late at night, residents like Assouma and her female grand-children were afraid of going out to use them.
Due to poor maintenance and lack of proper hygiene, residents, especially women and girls, were at risk of contracting infections and other diseases caused by poor hygienic conditions.
“I was continually getting treated for infections because of the unhygienic state of the public latrines” said Assouma
In June 2019, Isuku Iwacu partnered with the local district authorities to construct 22 basic latrines for the residents to provide access to basic sanitation for 95 residents. Local sector and cell authorities mobilized residents to contribute labor by digging pit latrines and providing mud bricks while Isuku Iwacu through a private construction company completed construction of the latrines.
Isuku Iwacu has been working with private companies across its eight target districts to construct latrines for vulnerable people in collaboration with district authorities since March 2018. Furthermore, Isuku Iwacu has used these opportunities to build the capacity of local entrepreneurs to construct basic latrines in line with the internationally recognized standards and the 2016 government of Rwanda sanitation policy.
One of the double pit latrine constructed by Isuku Iwacu in Taba Village.
Nikuze Assouma explains the health benefits of her new latrine to the Mayor.
The community in Taba village supported each other with labor. Elderly persons such as Assouma and other people living with disabilities received support from the community to provide mud bricks and dig pits. While Assouma received support in providing mud bricks, she used earnings from her small scale farming activities to pay for a local entrepreneur to dig the pit.
Isuku Iwacu handed over the new latrines to the residents in a public event in which behavior change communication messages and materials were disseminated to the residents. The event was attended by the Mayor of Nyarugenge district, sector and cell officials and SNV’s country director.
Isuku Iwacu, upon the request of Nyarugenge district, will continue to collaborate with local officials by conducting open defecation free (ODF) training in Taba village to ensure that the village is pre-declared ODF.
Written by Minnie N. Karanja