|Milton and the toilet he built for his uncle in Narevorovo, Maewo Island, Vanuatu. © ABM/Terry Russell, 2019.|
ABM’s Terry Russell recently visited the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene projects being carried out on Maewo Island by our partner, the Anglican Church of Melanesia (ACOM). This project is funded by ABM and Australian Aid, and is made possible by the very active participation of local communities. Maewo is one of many islands in Vanuatu that is participating in and benefitting from this project.
The program aims to build some initial facilities such as ventilation-improved pit (VIP) toilets and water piping or rainwater tanks. The idea is that once local people see how they are constructed, they are able to construct similar facilities, at their own expense.
On Maewo Island, it was great to learn that children in Kaivaru village were washing more frequently because the program has brought water right into the village.
Four VIP toilets and one water piping system had been built on Maewo by ACOM in 2016 and 2017. So it was good to see all of these facilities being well-maintained in 2019. Not only that, locals had, using their own money, built another toilet (based on the plan of the original four VIP toilets) in Narovorovo and two more in Kaivaru, as well as an additional water piping system in Kaivaru. With the two water piping systems in Kaivaru, locals had even attached shower fittings. Overall, these facilities served 12 households in Kaivaru and one in Narovorovo, and the church-owned toilet in Narovorovo was open to all community members on Sundays.
The new facilities have had a particularly beneficial impact on women and the elderly. Several people, including an elderly woman and an elderly man, commented to Terry that the ACOM toilet model was more comfortable for elderly people because they could sit instead of having to squat. Some women in Kaivaru added that the new water system saved them a 200m walk and the new VIP toilets were much safer than the old pit toilets.
Overall, the new slab toilets are better than the old pit toilets because the slab toilets include a comfortable seat, a cement floor and a ventilation shaft that removes any odours.
Thank you to everyone who has supported this project and the people in Vanuatu
whose lives you have touched with your generosity.
ABM’s Terry Russell with community members in Kaivaru village, Maewo Island, Vanuatu.