The Malampa Province made a list of their needs and using the PACA resources they decided on their priority need. Their primary priority need is to provide sanitary water seal toilets to each household. The community is currently using one bush toilet per two to three households. The toilet project became a priority when faced with the lack of sanitary standards held by many community members. Improvement in toilets will not just address a sanitation need but also greater health and safety concerns. Their current toilets are around a three-minute walk from any household. This means that people especially girls and women are too afraid to use it at night. The project’s ability to address both health and safety concerns for the community makes it easily the number one priority. The Malampa Province has shown great initiative and started fundraising earlier than scheduled. The fundraising to raise 2,000 USD, was completed at the end of March. They would also be supplying the much needed labor for the project. The community is eager for health changes. As the first community in the area to move away from bush toilets, this project has the potential to have a greater impact than one community’s health and sanitary concerns. Already other communities are approaching the Malampa Province for guidance on similar projects.
The toilet committee is the driving force behind the project. The committee consists of seven men and five women all with good standing in the community. They are self-driven and often call meetings. As the Peace Corps volunteer, I am secondary to the planning of the project. I am often asked to look up supply information and pricing but am not asked to be involved in community organizing. Already they have completed the fundraising and have bought twenty cement water seal toilets from the provincial capital. The committee has created a schedule for the project and has kept ahead of schedule thus far.
The community is planning on building toilet slabs that can be moved once the toilet pit is filled. This will create a more sustainable toilet system than the abandonment of old toilets. The weekly community clean-up day will include cleaning both public and private toilets. In addition, the community will maintain their connections and the quality of the material parts of the project.