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Community celebrates open defecation free

Apr 25, 2014, 10:29 AM | Article By: Malamin L.M. Conteh

Community-led Total Sanitation is a concept introduced in communities to control their own sanitation and hygiene with no cost or subsidy from the government and other NGOs.

This was facilitated and motivated by extension workers on the approach by guiding the communities on the benefits of sanitation and hygiene and the negative impact of open defecation to the environment.

Some community sensitizations were also held, especially on CLTS concepts and after gaining the trust, some communities made sure they were involved in every step of the process to ensure CLTS appeal to local customs, attitudes and values of The Gambia.

In 2009, CLTS was piloted in the Upper River Region of The Gambia and after its success there, CLTS was scaled up in all the six health regions of The Gambia.

Since the introduction of CLTS in The Gambia,stakeholders at regional and central level have been making follow-up and monitoring, triggering communities towards the attainment of ODF.

To bring this message to the communities, over 500 facilitators were trained to promote hygiene within their community.

Soon thereafter, some communities attained Open Defecation Free status and have gone extra mile in constructing tippy taps for effective hand-washing.

As of now 118 communities in The Gambia have been certified ODF in April 2014 and this number would continue to grow.

During the ODF celebration in all the regions, a cross-section of ODF communities, including senior government officials, NGOs, community-based organizations, drama groups, and traditional communicators, were present.