Toilet stories

VIP toilets for very important lives

Jonathon’s school in Papua New Guinea was at risk of being closed. The School Inspector was not impressed with the elementary and primary school’s sub-standard toilets, which consisted of 12 pit latrines (very basic toilets that are essentially a hole in the ground which separate peoples from their waste) for 414 students.

Through the work of WaterAid and its local partners, the school’s toilets received a major upgrade. Construction began on six VIP latrines (a ventilated improved pit latrine, not a toilet reserved for very important people). By including a vent pipe with a flyscreen, these ‘VIP’ toilets are far safer and less odorous than simple pit latrines as they prevent flies which come into contact with the feces from leaving the pit and thus spreading disease. WaterAid also helped set up a female shower room and 11 handwashing facilities.

As with much of WaterAid’s project work, infrastructure is just one part of the solution. Alongside its partners, WaterAid helped design a strategy for the school on how to maintain toilet cleanliness, and encourage hygienic behaviours such as handwashing. This work involved setting up a committee for water, sanitation and hygiene, who could keep this as a priority going into the future.

And it remains a priority, with WaterAid’s work inspiring the school to take further action. They decided to continue working on this sanitation project, building two more toilets for the primary school.

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