Latrines in Sokar Village
ADP is funding the construction of 45 latrines in the village of Sokar, 35 km north of Muzaffarabad, Kashmir. The goal of the project is to construct 1 latrine for every family in the village. The partner NGO, HEED (Health, Education, Environment, Development) has significant experience in Water and Sanitation and will build the latrines. Community participation will be the source for much of the labor.
Sokar Village is an isolated underprivileged community with approximately 350 inhabitants. HEED carried out a needs and vulnerability assessment for the village in 2008 which identified access to safe drinking water and sanitation coverage as the primary concerns. Though a water supply system and a few community latrines have been built, sanitation related morbidity is still significant. In addition to the environmental and health related issues, open defecation poses a number of social problems as well. The community has therefore shown a keen interest in this initiative.
Through the experience of past projects, the community seems well organized, however, lacks funds and technical expertise. ADP’s partnership with HEED aims to overcome both these shortcomings. HEED’s Social Mobilizers and Hygiene Promoters will educate the community on the use and maintenance of the latrines. The total project cost is Rs 909,000, of which Rs. 850,000 will be funded by ADP. It is anticipated the project will take 4-5 months to complete from the start date.
HEED works primarily in isolated communities in Kashmir through small scale local projects in the areas of health, education, environment and development. Since 2005 (post earthquake) the work of the Association has grown significantly in the number and scale of projects being undertaken. These projects include water supply schemes, community latrines, vocational centers, and primary schools.
HEED focuses on community involvement and education and training in whatever work it undertakes. This focus helps to ensure the sustainability of the development work. In addition to Azad Kashmir, HEED’s area of operation includes Southern Punjab, with future aims to provide services in Balochistan.
Although the most easily measurable indicator of success in this project will be the number of latrines built, holistic improvements in sanitation and health are the ultimate goals. The extent to which open defecation is replaced by utilization of latrines will be the primary indicator of such an improvement in sanitation. This, as well as other indicators, can be assessed by interviewing local healthcare facilities on the number of sanitation-related illnesses over 6 month periods, and also by collecting anecdotal evidence from the villagers themselves:
- Construction of 45 family latrines
- Education of effective sanitation/hygiene practices
- Regular use of latrines by more than 75% of community
Long-term impact metric: Reduction in incidence of sanitation related illnesses. Specifically, incidence of diarrhea in children under 5 years is reduced by 30%+
Critical Need: Morbidity rates related to sanitation are significant in areas where open defecation is the norm. Parasitic infections arising from poor sanitation include dysentery, cholera, typhoid, schistosomiasis and trachoma.
Social Return: Family latrines will solve the problem of the community’s lack of basic sanitation; it will decrease morbidity rates and improve quality of life. Project is cost-effective as it draws on the community for the labor.
Measurability: Indicators include morbidity rates, infection rates/incidence of sanitation related diseases, i.e. levels of hygiene.
Sustainability: Strong level of ownership on the part of the community will promote maintenance of the latrines. Training in the operation and maintenance of the latrines will be provided. Hygiene Committees will be established to build on the physical infrastructure by working on social attitudes towards hygiene and cleanliness.
The HEED team is very professional and experienced with developing water schemes and providing sanitation related services. The commitment and technical expertise of the leadership was a strong factor in the decision to fund the project.
What are the current practices of the villagers regarding sanitation?
Open defecation is the practice of most of the inhabitants of the village
What percentage of the villagers use the existing community latrines?
Two community latrines were built by HEED in 2008 together with the community. They still function well. However, only a small portion of the villagers use them. This is due to the terrain of the village and scattered nature of the houses, both of which make regular accessibility to the latrines difficult. Due to cultural constraints, women do not use these community latrines.
What guarantee is there community members will use and maintain their personal latrines?
The villagers themselves have asked for latrines to be built for their families. Their participation in building the latrines, coupled with maintenance and sanitation training, will make them inclined to use the latrines properly
ADP is pleased to report that this project has been completed, although it met with a few hurdles in its final phase. Najaf Shah has detailed the key challenges and how they were overcome in his Dastak post. The final report is attached above.
2nd tranche of funds ($8,800) was released today to fund the remaining 45 latrines. A recent site visit by ADP volunteer Khizar Hayat confirmed that construction on the remaining latrines is already underway and that the families that received the first 15 latrines are using them regularly and pleased with them. The actual project cost is coming in ~20% higher than expected (Rs. 11 lacs vs. Rs. 9 lacks). ADP decided to split the overage 50/50 with HEED. The final progress report from HEED is expected in June 2011.
HEED sent in its first progress report in January 2011, detailing better than expected progress on both Phase 1 and Phase 2. The community of Sokar received the project with great enthusiasm – a fuller update is available at: http://developpakistan.org/heed-phase1-update/.
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