The provision of sanitation facilities in household

The provision of sanitation facilities in household

The following case studies depict the positive impact of the work of the Aga Khan Development Network, on the lives of rural women, as a result of the provision of sanitation facilities within their households. The case studies are written as conversations with or personal stories of a woman, whose life has been impacted by AKDN's work.

A case study from Nagalpur village, Kutch district
This case study describes the suffering of 15-year old girl Farida Ben with six sisters in Nagalpur Village absence of household’s toilet facilities. Convenience and privacy are two very important issues affecting the younger generation, and Farida emphatically reinforces that sentiment when she says that for girls like her, having access to a toilet at home is essential especially when menstruating as well as risks women face due to lack of access to sanitation facilities. Because she enjoys access to a toilet at home, incidents like these do not alarm her and her sisters much, but when she lived at her uncle’s farm, she avoided going to the fields alone and usually did so in a group or with her sisters. The Farida and her sisters avoided going to the toilet as much as possible or did so only when they had to. The discomfort was often acute and eventually led to complications like constipation and stomach cramps.

Looking back, Farida and her sisters think that allowing a toilet to be built was the best gift their father could have given them.

A case study from Shergadh village, Junagadh district
The Gujarat Environmental Health Improvement Programme seeks to improve the health and well being of rural beneficiaries living in specific areas of Gujarat. It enables communities to support water and sanitation infrastructure that ensures adequate village coverage; and practice water management and hygiene behavior that contributes to improved health and well-being, especially of women and children under the age of five.
This case study describes the suffering of women’s, both socially and economically in the absence of household toilet, through Ms Kamiben Rabari, Shergadh village. In fact, she has radically changed the way she eats. For years, she has deprived herself of food items like pulses, potatoes, rice and green leafy vegetables. “The more one eats, the more one has to go to relieve oneself,” she says. Kamiben convinced her family to have a household toilet, and started building it as part of the Aga Khan Development Network’s, “Gujarat Environmental Health Improvement Programme”.

It starts with a general background of the sanitation issues being faced, describes the sufferings of in rainy season to find place to relive and also difficulty in taking bath in the absence of bathroom. One can understand the importance of having private toilet, which is not only safe for adolescent girls, but also helps women’s to dedicate more time for household works. The impact of the programme is visible. The note ends with positively stating that things are slowly changing in rural Gujarat and the simple pleasures of life are no longer out of bounds for women like Kamiben. They are now embracing a new future, one where there is equity, privacy and dignity.

A case study from Bhalot village, Kutch district
The Multi-sector Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Programme (MSRRP), is working to assist rural communities affected by the earthquake that struck Gujarat in 2001. Interventions have included the provision of disaster resistant housing, education centres and sanitation infrastructure (drinking water supply systems, toilets and bathrooms). Water harvesting structures have been introduced and primary health care services are operational. Savings and credit schemes are helping the poor regain their livelihoods. Disaster preparedness and management training is also provided..

This case study depicts the sanitation and water issues in rural Gujarat through the biography of 75 year old Karmaben Rakhya Ahir, Bhalot village. Karmaben never fell ill in the last 40 years because of her hygienic practices like boiling water, keeping her house and surrounding clean, thereby setting an example for her neighbors to follow. Karmaben used to defecate in mud pot filled with sand and dispose it with great degree of embracement. But her sufferings came to an end with the construction of toilet under the MSRR programme, which was funded by European Commission.
 
Karmaben desire to have toilet after using one in bus stand if meet through this programme, with low household income the family could manage to have a thatched house and toilet is a luxury. Now things have changed she is seeing the toilet as gods gift and her entire family maintains it religiously. For Karmaben and other women like her, the health benefits of having a toilet are incidental. Far more important is the access, privacy, and above all dignity that having one provides.

A case study from Varshila village, Patan district
The Gujarat Environmental Health Improvement Programme seeks to improve the health and well being of rural beneficiaries living in specific areas of Gujarat. It enables communities to support water and sanitation infrastructure that ensures adequate village coverage; and practice water management and hygiene behavior that contributes to improved health and well-being, especially of women and children under the age of five.

This case study depicts the suffering of women’s in the absence of toilet through the voice of Ms Kokilaben Parmar. In her village people are using community toilet which is actually a pit locally called as wada. Kokilaben narrates the sufferings she has to face while defecating in the pit, during her eight months of pregnancy. Apart from the one kilometer walk, she also had to carry and manage her two year old child. The case of her mother in law is much worse. Her mother law a sick lady used to defecate in her cloth in house itself and Kokilaben has clean up, which adds her household work load.

For Kokilaben, her mother-in-law and other women in similar  situations, having a toilet in the house would not only ensure comfort, but also save them from embarrassment of being spied upon, afford them much needed privacy for their daily ablutions and, most importantly, restore their sense of dignity as self respecting human beings.

A case study from Bhalot village, Kutch district
The Multi-sector Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Programme (MSRRP), is working to assist rural communities affected by the earthquake that struck Gujarat in 2001. Interventions have included the provision of disaster resistant housing, education centres and sanitation infrastructure (drinking water supply systems, toilets and bathrooms). Water harvesting structures have been introduced and primary health care services are operational. Savings and credit schemes are helping the poor regain their livelihoods. Disaster preparedness and management training is also provided.

This case study of Ms Romatben families suffering in the absence of household toilet is different from rest of families in Bhalot village. Because Romatben and her two daughters are visually impaired, adding to the misery her husband is physically challenged. The family cannot offer to have toilet since her husband, Latif a carpenter earnings meets day to day expenses. The absence of a bathroom at home meant that bathing was a huge problem. So putting all thoughts of personal hygiene aside, Romatben and her two daughters would bathe only once or twice a week, and to avoid unwanted exposure, did so at dawn.

But when Latif came to know that sanitation infrastructure was being constructed in his village by the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), as part of the European Commission funded “Multi Sector Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Programme.”, he grabbed the opportunity in both hands and constructed both toilet & bath room and restored the dignity in his family.

10-02-2005 | Posted by Admin