Most people in Sudan have a poor understanding of hygiene, which negatively affects their health. This is exacerbated during a disaster or conflict. We partner with community groups to lead their sanitation and local resource management and prepare for potential disasters. So far, we have worked with 43 communities, which has resulted in 4,228 families stopping open defecation and using their home toilets, and 1,565 families are in the process of digging toilets. Our other work includes partnering with local groups to install hand pumps, boreholes, wells and water tanks, and establishing community water committees to manage the water systems on a long term basis.
Since 2009, we have been implementing a Community-led Total Sanitation (CLTS) and Sanitation Marketing Project in Sudan, working in collaboration with the government, communities and other INGOs. Together we organise workshops, and conduct training programmes and health campaigns in Khartoum, North Kordofan, Red Sea Kassala, North Darfur and White Nile states. The campaign has focused on raising the communities’ awareness, and mobilising community members and families to stop defecating in the open.
The approach has also guided communities to design and install their own toilets using their own available resources to increase their sense of ownership, and to encourage proper use and maintenance. The process is supported by community leaders, youth and women groups who have played an active role in mobilising people and monitoring the process. As a result, some 26 communities have declared themselves to be free of open defecation.
Furthermore, we have collaborated with another INGO, GOAL, to introduce and expand the initiative in nine communities in Khartoum State, where all communities have now been declared Open Defecation Free (ODF). These communities often don’t stop at achieving ODF status, but move on to achieving other collective common goals such as ‘no hunger or starvation in the village’; ‘no children without school enrolment and all going to school’, reduced the inequality of men’s and women’s labour and growing trees in the areas which are declared free of open defecation.
“I’m a mother of five children - three boys and two girls,” said Mardofa, 47, a community member. “We did this project in our community in collaboration with Plan International. My children and I feel comfortable using our home toilet, our community is now clean and children’s diseases have decreased, especially diarrhoea which breaks out during the rainy season.”