Zambia

Less than half the population of Zambia have access to a proper toilet and only a third have clean, safe water.

REGION

We are working in several districts across Eastern, Western, Southern and Central provinces.

WHO’S BEING HELPED

Our work focuses on poor, rural communities where open defecation has been common and safe drinking water is in short supply. Many of these communities are hard to reach.

THE PROJECT

Our partners JCM and BICC have been working on WASH projects as part of wider programmes to strengthen communities. Their work includes drilling boreholes and promoting community-led total sanitation. Encouraging and training families to build toilets is a key focus.

Before our partners began working in these areas, women and girls had to walk long distances to collect water, often from shallow wells or streams. These water sources were unsafe because they were contaminated by human waste, especially during the wet season. Diarrhoea-related illness was rife. Women and girls were also at risk of attack as they squatted in the bush. Now, they say they have privacy and dignity, and their health is protected.

CHANGING LIVES

Moses and his family had a basic latrine before our partner BICC came to work in their village in Choma district. Yet, the family rarely used their toilet because officials had told them to build it and they didn’t really understand why they needed it. Often, it was easier to go to the toilet in the open as they worked.

They didn’t realise that human waste was contaminating the stream and shallow wells where they drew water – until BICC explained this was why so many people were falling ill.

From then on, Moses and his family started using their latrine properly and their neighbours started building toilets too. BICC drilled a deep borehole to provide a safe, secure water supply, and gave villagers hygiene training.

Now, cases of diarrhoea have tailed off dramatically and the community is well on the way to becoming ‘open defecation free’. Moses is proud to be a role model to his neighbours and hopeful that his village will become a role model for others in the district too.