I am Desta Hailemichael, a community leader who lives in woreda 06, Akaki-Kality Sub-city, Addis Ababa. I live in a neighborhood with 10 other households, most of which have large families. Our community used to use a shared toilet that is 300 meters away from our home. It was very difficult for children, women, and the elderly to go out at night and use the toilet. To make it easier, we started to use plastic bags to defecate at night, and dispose of the bag around dawn. My neighbors and I did not like this approach, so we decided to setup a Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) committee. Our committee approached Amref Health Africa to request support. Amref was responsive; they swiftly built a sanitation facility close to our neighborhood. Despite the scarcity of land in our very crowded settlement, we managed to find a very small place for Amref to construct the toilet with running water, hand washing taps, and a water reservoir. We now have access to a safe sanitation facility, and hand washing after using the toilet has become a common practice in our community. This has changed our lives for the better.
My name is Eyerusalem Ashagera and I am a sixth-grade student at Ethiopia Andinet Primary School. In the past, the girls at my school shared the same toilet with boys. The boys teased us, and sometimes even blocked our way to the toilet. This made it very difficult. If we managed to use the toilet, many of us felt unsafe because the toilets lacked privacy and safety because the toilet doors were all broken. We felt like our privacy and safety was always compromised. To top it all, there were only two water points shared by all students. Washing our hands regularly felt like more of a luxury. Since Amref’s construction, we now have a clean and girl-friendly toilet with hand washing facilities in our school. Teachers and health club members educate us about the benefits of hand washing and I have noticed more students getting in the habit of washing their hands. We are now comfortably able to use the toilet at school. We are very grateful for the sanitation facility built by Amref.
I am Yohannes Eneyew. I am member of a group established to collect solid waste and generate income at district 07 and 08, Akaki-Kality Sub-city, Addis Ababa. Previously, it was quite normal for us to collect waste with our bare hands, without any safety attire or precautions. We would also carry sacks of waste on our backs, wearing no protective gear at all. We lacked awareness that this could seriously affect our health. We were exposed to cuts and injury from broken glass and other sharp materials disposed as solid waste.
As part of its support to us, Amref gave us training and increased our knowledge on operational hygiene, safety, and solid waste management, and provided us with all the needed equipment and attire, which changed the way we do our business. We began using gloves and covering our nose and mouth during waste collection, which protects us from many dangers associated with waste .
Amref Health Africa teams up with African communities to create lasting health change.