Using its risk assessment tools Brave Hearts identifies children living in homes with high risk sanitation problems or no sanitation facilities. We then construct or modify adequate and accessible toilets with working flush systems and a septic tank. This has provided the children that benefited from this project with a safe and healthy environment to live in. Children who were often vulnerable to disease and illness due to the lack of adequate sanitation were able to lead a healthy life and focus on their studies.
Operation Flash Toilet
By Kellie Picker
Proper sanitation and personal hygiene reduces the risk of people contracting and spreading diseases, making them critical to good health, normal development and long-term survival. In Ethiopia and many developing countries, improved sanitation facilities, such as toilets and latrines, allow people to hygienically deal with their waste appropriately, which in turn helps break the infection cycle of various diseases. With this, the Brave Hearts’ children and their families in mind, Brave Hearts set out to improve the children’s health through a community initiative titled ‘Operation Flash Toilet’. The initiative’s aim was to improve the children’s health through improved sanitation as quickly as possible: in a ‘flash’. Brave Hearts initially identified the homes of eight children to be a health problem, but due to limited funding the work was restricted to the homes of two children with the highest sanitation risk.
One can only imagine the grimy and grungy work involved in renovating a one room toilet used by 41 people but with the support of the local government member and the expertise of a local plumber, Operation Flash Toilet was a huge success. Now, the two Brave Hearts children, their family and the immediate community, are benefiting from the installation of three flushing toilets, a shower, wash corner and large septic tank. The significance of this thoughtful and needed initiative is reflected in the children attending school more regularly, less illness and everyone in the community experiencing greater dignity, privacy and personal safety.