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Improved health for the people of Gabu

Several communities in Gabu have been declated open defecation free after a project which saw the local population working alongside Plan International Guinea-Bissau.

A sign declaring that a community in Gabu has become open defecation free
A sign declaring that a community in Gabu has become open defecation free.

Because of Plan International’s community-led total sanitation (CLTS) project in Guinea Bissau, the communities of Camboré, Sintcha Botche, Dara and Nhaulen have now been declared open defecation free (ODF). 

Now we have many toilets, as well as soap and water within them.

The ceremony to celebrate the newly-gained status was supported by Plan International Guinea-Bissau in collaboration with the Federation Battoden Gollen and the Directorate General of Water Resources of Gabu.

Improved facilities and behaviours

In a country where only 13% of households use improved sanitation facilities which are not shared, this is an important step in improving the health of more than 4,000 people who are part of these 4 communities in Gabu.

Alimatu is pleased that the health of her community is improving
Alimatu is pleased that the health of her community is improving.

“Plan International and the Battoden Gollen’s Federation have joined forces to raise awareness on becoming ODF, so we can live in better health conditions. Nowadays, you do not see any child defecating in the bushes, not even feces in streets. Those diseases that affected our children have decreased in our community,” said Fatumata Baldé from Dara.

In turn, Alimatu, said there used to be no hygiene facilities in the community. Toilets were few and people were not in the habit of washing their hands after going to the toilet. 

“Now we have many toilets, as well as soap and water within them,” says Alimatu.

Good sanitation spreading across the country

Closing the ceremony, the delegate of the General Direction of Hydric Resources of Gabu gave a diploma to the community leader, certifying that the 4 communities are ODF. The event brought together community and religious leaders and also local authorities for sanitation, health, education and security areas.

Camboré, Sintcha Botche, Dara e Nhaulen now join 60 communities (out of 90 communities in the regions of Gabu and Bafata) that have been declared ODF.

Plan International Guinea-Bissau has been working for 5 years with the most deprived communities from Gabu and Bafata to increase the number of Bissau-Guinean households with access to adequate sanitation and good hygiene practices under the CLTS project.