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Fakarau Alh. Adamu a small community comprising 152 households practiced open defecation and never saw anything awkward about it. Only five households had latrines prior intervention while the remaining 97% of the population defecated in a nearby bush, by the village stream or at the nearest convenient place.
The deplorable state of the community and the effect open defecation was having on the health of the community members informed Action Against Hunger’s WASH intervention sponsored by DFID.
When teenagers rise up to take responsibilities, the society is hopeful of experiencing transformational changes both now and in the future. Mohammed Ishaku from Fakarau Alh. Adamu community in Nangere Local Government of Yobe State has shimmered a ray of hope in his community by taking intentional steps to end open defecation among his people.
“Until every household in my village build their own latrine and stop eating each other’s poop, I will not stop talking about the importance of safe defecation,” young Mohammed Ishaku said as he tipped sand off the shovel he was using to dig a latrine for his neighbour and wiped beads of sweat off his brow.
During the Defecation Area Mapping (DAM) and community-led triggering sessions in his community, Ishaku volunteered to serve as the spokesperson for the children and teenage group.
At the beginning of the session, Ishaku noted, “I thought the facilitators were just there to entertain us but when they began to teach us about the effect of poop contamination, I was shocked to realize that open defecation is a way to eat my poop and that of others”. Scowling in disgust, Ishakwu continued “we were made to understand how defecating in the open contaminate our surrounding and somehow find its way into the food we eat and the water that we drink, thereby causing harmful diseases like cholera, typhoid which makes my mother spend the little money that we have on hospital bills”. Ishakwu went from disturbing awakening to resolve to do something about the open defecation situation in his community.
Leaning on his shovel, Ishaku peered into the half-dug latrine and continued, “I took the challenge to build a latrine for my household within one month. I have also built a few for some of my neighbours who do not have abled young men. I have been going about encouraging and teaching my friends how to dig one for their households”. Eyes blazing with determination, Ishaku promised to do his best to ensure his community flags ODF banner high as soon as possible.
Just like Ishaku, many households in Fakarau Alh. Adamu community are embracing sanitation and hygiene practices and are actively moving towards being open defecation free.
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