My name is Guylord Gatsi. Iam a widower taking care of four young children and my mother-in-law. I was selected to be one of the beneficiaries of the standard Blair Ventilated Improved Pit (BVIP) latrines through participatory process by fellow community members. I earn a living from brickmaking. Since my wife passed, my mother-in-law assists with household chores and minding the children in my absence despite her advanced age of 77. The major challenge we faced as a family prior to receiving the latrine was access to clean and safe water for household use. The nearest borehole to my homestead was not functioning and so my mother-in-law and children were forced to walk distances as long as 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) to the nearest borehole. As a result, my children would fetch water from unprotected water sources such as a nearby dam where other community members bathed and did their laundry on site. This posed significant risk of drinking contaminated water and contracting diarrhea.
Mr.Guylord Gatsi standing at his BVIP. Photo By Florence Mavhengere UMCOR
Through the project, I worked to provide pit sand, river sand, water, and all the other locally available materials required while the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) provided cement and mesh wire to construct the standard BVIP at my homestead. Twenty-five pit latrine builders participated in building the toilet as part of their practical training under the supervision of the Environmental Health Technician. A tippy-tap (hand washing facility) was also established on site for handwashing after visiting the toilet. Even neighbors are now using the toilet. In addition, the borehole closest to my homestead was rehabilitated through the project and now my family has improved access to clean and safe water for drinking. During a Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) campaign, a group of Community Health Club (CHC) members visited our family and taught us good environmental and personal hygiene practices including the ten steps of hand washing and the appropriate siting of rubbish pits. I am now an advocate for improved sanitation in my village and work together with other men and women from CHCs to encourage other community members on good hygiene practices.
*Guylord Gatsi, water and sanitation project beneficiary