Public Latrines in Rotifunk

Many households in rural Sierra Leone do not have a private toilet or access to a public latrine. Ward 237, in Kaffu Bullom chiefdom, Port Loko District, is not an exception. During the outbreak of cholera in 2012, Kaffu Bullom had one of the highest number of cases.

For years, Rotifunk has not had a public latrine to serve commuters and business people. This is one of the greatest concerns for many including councillors, WDC members (please explain this acronym), and youth leaders.

According to Councillor Abubakarr Koroma, ‘It has been recorded by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation that for any outbreak that is related to water-borne diseases, Kaffu Bullom will always be in the red zone due to poor sanitation and hygiene practices.

Public Latrines in Rotifunk

Community Development

Before SABI, community participation in local development issues in this area was limited. People did not have a clear idea about the specific roles different service providers had, and their relationship with them, to create proper sanitation and hygiene facilities within the community, and other ward developmental issues.

 

The SABI approach

Through SABI community meetings, the community were able to identify their needs and also were supported to channel these to the right authorities for solutions.

As Councillor Abubakarr Koroma explains, ‘Seeing women searching for a convenient place to ease themselves and couldn’t find one is unbearable…it’s a shame to the stakeholders in the community including the paramount chief’. It is for this reason that the Councillor approached the paramount chief for financial support for the construction of a public latrine in Rotifunk.

The WDCs and community members are now using SABI action plans to identify and solve issues so that they can embark on owning their own community development work.

With strong support from field staff, these groups now have a better understanding of the issues and how to refer them to the appropriate channels to make a difference. It is through this method that they now have public latrines.

 

SABI action plans

The action plan approach was seen as particularly beneficial. It helps highlight roles and responsibilities within the community, chiefdom, ward and district. It prevents issues from being pushed to the government to solve and supports the community instead to mobilise people and resources to carry out their own development projects that are aligned to government efforts.

 

New latrines

Ward 237 now has two latrines. Working together, the ward councillor through the SABI model of change was able to engage with community stakeholders including the paramount chief, youth groups, women’s groups and people living with disabilities to see the completion of this much-needed resource.