Sunday, May 26, 2013

Kiribati leads Pacific in sanitation | ABC Radio Australia

Kiribati's North Tarawa is the first island in the Pacific where the entire community now has access to sanitation.
North Tarawa in Kiribati is the first island in the Pacific to be declared 'open defecation-free', with the entire community having access to sanitation.
The Ministry of Public Works' project was supported by UNICEF and funded by the European Union.
Around 64 per cent of people on the island previously did not have access to sanitary toilet facilities, UNICEF said.
"Most of the people were using the beaches and mangroves for defecation and dumping their rubbish that made people sick," said Tooti Rangaba from the island's Nooto village.
UNICEF spokeswoman Nuzhat Shahzadi has told Radio Australia a lack of sanitary toilets is one of the leading causes of illness and death among children.
She says diarrhoeal diseases causes 15 per cent of the deaths of children under five in Kiribati.
This is unacceptable - we are on a modern time, society has developed and these are preventable deaths and the communities can make a difference," she said.
"Our first strategy was to raise awareness among the people, so we trained the communities on community-led total sanitation methods.
"And they decided how they should work together so that people stop defecating out in the bushes and on the beaches."
Ms Shahzadi says indigenous technology was used to build the toilets.
"They dig a pit - not very deep - and they use some local materials for the structure [overhead] . . . and they keep water and soap in one corner.
After using the toilet, they sprinkle ash in order to stop the smell and flies getting in it and they keep it covered."
Ms Shahzadi says locals on North Tarawa are very happy with the development.
"The grandmothers, the mothers, the girls - they were so happy. They don't have to go out on the beach in the middle of the night if they need to use the toilet.
"This is comfortable . . . culturally acceptable and close to their home."
Kiribati President Anote Tong has set December 2015 as the target date for the whole nation to become open defecation-free.
UNICEF says the majority of people in developing countries, mostly in the poorest households and rural areas, are still practicing open defecation - the riskiest sanitation practice.