February 2016: Ethiopia / Lalibela: Toilet Construction
Sanitation, hygiene and toilet facilities are the common, but the most forgotten problems in Ethiopia. Let alone in rural areas, where such kind of facilities are usually considered as luxuries, even the capital Addis Ababa, only with 63 public toilets for more than 4 million population of its inhabitants, could not provide the minimum conveniences.
If one looks the situation in the country side, including in those relatively bigger towns and cities of regional states, researches and various reports reveal that the problem is even shoddier. Nationwide, only 12% of the population use improved sanitation facility. This coupled with lack of water and other health services have led the peoples’ easily vulnerability to water-borne or other bacteria and virus-based transmitted disease that have claimed many lives.
According to the report released by Wash Ethiopia Movement, 9 out of 10 households use non-improved toilet facilities. In those very limited public toilets, sorrowfully, people might have to line up for some-time to make use of the facilities, as a result of which, it is not uncommon seeing people doing it here and there along the streets. Women and girls, and people with disabilities are the most affected sections of the society as it would be very immoral to see them undressed, which would be unavoidable in toilets that are not covered with walls or lockable doors.
Like many of its sister towns, Lalibella is not an exception of the reality mentioned above. As a town of destination for almost all tourists who travel to Ethiopia, however, PBF notes that much has to be done to improve the problem so that its foreign guests shall be welcomed not only by the smiling faces of its people and the rock-hewn churches of its heritage, but also with hospitality of the clean, breathable and startling environment.
Having this in mind, PBF is constructing a public toilet, in one of the most forgotten and unprivileged area of the town of Lalibela. The toilet is designed to have as many rooms as it can serve 76 people at the same time. This project is integrated with the newly constructed village that PBF has established by building 29 houses for aged homeless people. Accordingly, the construction of the toilet will serve not only these targeted groups but also the entire community in the area.