BHE's Flash Toilet Project
BHE's started its 'flash toilet' project in late 2014, not a year after the organization was established. This was due to the fact that two young girls, Sebie and Kebedech, kept staying home from school because they fell ill repeatedly. Upon the assessment of the social workers, it was found that the girls kept falling ill because the toilet facilities in their village were in very poor condition.
The toilet served about 40 community members living in the village. Not only was it unhygienic, it had no appropriate water, flushing or septic tank systems. The toilet area routinely floods and constantly gave the compound a bad smell. We found that children including Sebie and Kebedech as well as the adults in the community routinely fell ill from different preventable infectious diseases like typhoid, typhus, diarrhea, influenza among others.
Realizing something must be done immediately in order to stop the direct risks this situation was posing to the children and community; BHE started working right away with the local government and community members to renovate and install new toilet systems.
The reconstruction took about three months and was not an easy project. The area around the toilet had to be cleaned and dug in order to construct a 48 meter cube septic tank. New pipe systems were laid in order to ensure clean and safe means of waste disposal. The toilet was also reconstructed to have three toilet facilities with flush water systems and one shower room with appropriate water flow systems. Hand washing basins were also constructed.
The changes following the reconstruction were remarkable! The community celebrated the opening of the toilet facility with a feast in the village as residents felt happy that their problem was solved. The compound was clean and safe for children to play in. BHE also provided awareness training on hygiene and sanitation regarding the use of the toilet facilities.
"We have tried to solve this problem for over twenty years and now we have the solution, my happiness is beyond words" - the guardian of one of the children expressed.
The two young girls no longer repeatedly fell ill from preventable diseases. One of the girls is currently in 10th grade earning good results and preparing for her national exam. The other girl successful graduated from the program in December 2017 after completing her Hospitality training and finding professional employment as a chef.
There is nothing more fulfilling than a project which has met its goal in bringing about changes in the lives of those it aimed to support. BHE has taken this success story as an inspiration to keep working on toilet projects that may make meaningful and wide reaching improvements in creating healthier and happier communities for the children we support with our partners.
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