Celebration Marks End of Open Defecation in Three Villages in Mopti Region, Mali

The WASHplus Project, funded by the United States Government via USAID, triggers change in sanitation practices through the community-led total sanitation (CLTS) approach with a “plus” component that includes an emphasis on hand washing with soap after using the toilet. In Mali the plus component also signifies supply-side interventions to develop and promote low-cost latrine models appropriate to the unique environmental conditions in each district coupled with training community-based masons to build robust latrines using local materials. To complement the CLTS-driven approach in rural areas, WASHplus is beginning a sanitation marketing activity to engage materials suppliers and local entrepreneurs to market a line of aspirational sanitation products in Mopti’s urban areas. The WASHplus project is led by FHI 360 globally. In Mali, WASHplus activities are implemented through CARE International and two Malian NGOs, YAG-TU and Sahel Eco.

Recently the WASHplus Project in Mali organized public ceremonies to certify Open Defecation Free (ODF) status of three villages in the Mopti Region. These villages, each of which are located in priority areas for USAID’s Feed the Future and Global Health initiatives, were recognized as being the first in their municipality to reach ODF status.

From September 25th to 27th 2014, the USAID/Mali Director Gary Juste, accompanied by the Governor of Mopti Region, and the National Director of Sanitation led certification ceremonies in three villages in the presence of national and regional authorities, the CARE Mali Country Director, as well as local officials and residents from the villages. All three villages reached or exceeded the targeted criteria for certifications. The village of Allaye-Daga built 31 latrines against a target of 28. Wendeguele achieved 150% of their latrine target, and Kanikombole built 28 latrines against a target of 10. Local community leaders, women and youth all recognized the importance of the project and the impact safe disposal of human feces with have on the health and nutritional status of the populations, especially children under five. In the village of Allaye Daga, there was not a single latrine before the project, but now everybody uses latrines and the community has adopted social conventions to deal with noncompliance with ODF standards.

Photos from the certification ceremonies are posted below. These photos and description of the certification ceremonies were originally published on the USAID website here: http://www.usaid.gov/news-information/photo-gallery/certification-end-open-air-defecation-ceremony and here: http://www.usaid.gov/mali/news/usaid-promotes-hygiene-and-sanitation-through-innovative-approach

The Mayor of Sio hands out certificate to the village chief
The Mayor of Sio handing certificate over to the chief of the village of Wendeguele. Photo credit: USAID Mali.
Youth in Kanikombole vow to abide by hygiene and sanitation standards
Youth in Kanikombole vow to abide by hygiene and sanitation standards. Photo credit: USAID Mali.
USAID WASH Adviser engages communities on WASH
USAID WASH Adviser engages communities on WASH. Photo credit: USAID Mali.
Girls stood up against open-air defecation
Community-Led Total Sanitation benefits girls in Kanikombole. Photo credit: USAID Mali.
Communities in KaniKombole recognize USAID through a special award handed out to USAID WASH Advisor (Right)
Communities in KaniKombole recognize USAID through a special award handed out to USAID/Mali WASH Advisor (Right). Photo credit: USAID Mali.
USAID/Mali Director and Mopti Governor pose after unveiling the certification plaque. Photo credit: USAID Mali.
USAID Director (right), WASH Adviser (midlle), and Health Office Director
USAID/Mali Director (right), WASH Adviser (middle), and Health Office Director. Photo credit: USAID Mali.
There is the toilet!! Mopti Governor and USAID Director pointing to it
There is the toilet!! Mopti Governor and USAID/Mali Director pointing to it. Photo credit: USAID Mali.
USAID Director and Mopti Governor unveil certification sign board in Wendeguele
USAID/Mali Director and the Governor of Mopti unveil the certification sign board in Wendeguele. Photo credit: USAID Mali.
Mopti Governor and USAID Director visit a latrin under construction
Certification of End-of-open air defecation ceremony: Mopti Governor and USAID/Mali Director visit a latrine under construction. Photo Cresit: USAID Mali
USAID Director hand out certification for Allaye-Daga to Mopti Governor
USAID/Mali Director hand out certification for Allaye-Daga to Mopti Governor. Photo credit: USAID Mali.
USAID Director admires certification plaque for Allaye-Daga
USAID/Mali Director admires certification plaque for Allaye-Daga. Photo credit: USAID Mali.

Mali—CLTS in Tough Conditions

 Men building a latrine.

Before WASHplus, the national community-led total sanitation (CLTS) strategy in Mali suggested that implementers avoid areas with difficult soil conditions when applying the subsidy-free approach. Many of the WASHplus target communities, selected because of their high rates of undernutrition (primarily stunting) in children under 5, are located in areas where construction of traditional pit latrines is difficult—rocky, sandy, and flooded areas. To address this constraint, the WASHplus project team, in partnership with other local stakeholders (district technical staff working for the Ministry of Health and local masons), developed innovations for the building of improved latrines in each of these challenging environments. Working through local masons to propagate the innovative construction techniques among communities, this initiative resulted in thousands of latrines being built in areas long seen as off limits for a subsidy-free approach.

UNICEF invited WASHplus to share these experiences with stakeholders during a national workshop on CLTS in September 2014. As a result of the workshop, the national guidelines for CLTS in Mali were revised to include WASHplus’s solutions for building latrines on difficult soils.