Folomina’s face lights up when she talks about her toilet.
Two years ago, the state of water and sanitation in Folomina’s village was dire. She and the other 20 families in her community would walk two hours each day for water. The sanitation situation was just as bad. Most latrines didn’t have roofs, so they flooded during the rainy season. Without coverings on the latrine pits, Folomina says there were flies everywhere in her house. All of this made families sick – Folomina often had to take her children to the clinic to be treated for waterborne illnesses.
Now, Folomina gets excited when talking about water, because there’s a water point just steps away from her house. But she’s especially proud of her new toilet.
Folomina was the first in her community to build an improved latrine – complete with sturdy walls and a tin roof. And instead of an uncovered pit, she installed a SaTo Pan – a plastic pan fitted over the hole in a latrine, creating a seal that keeps out flies, insects, and odors. This seal prevents the spread of disease and improves the safety and desirability of pit latrines – a double win.
“I am proud of having a modern toilet,” says Folomina. “It has improved our health, and we have not gotten sick anymore.”
Folomina has become the town spokeswoman for improved toilets, and other villagers come by her house to see her new latrine fitted with the SaTo Pan. Together, community members have banded together in a cooperative to help each other improve their bathrooms.
“We make bricks so that every village can build a modern toilet,” shares Folomina. “We are helping each other.”
They also pool money to help families purchase tin roofs for their latrines, so that they stay dry and sanitary during the rainy season.
A smile breaks out across Folomina’s face when she realizes she won’t have to worry having a safe bathroom ever again. She’s working to make that a reality for every person in her community.