POKOT celebrating first UN toilet day in Style
The first UN toilet day was marked on 19th November 2013. In West, North, Central and part of East Pokot in Pokot county, Dini ya Roho Mafuta pole ya Africa, a movement which is a member of African Instituted churches celebrated the day with humor of toilets, pooping and some deadly serious facts and figures that makes it obvious why 100 countries – from Afghanistan to Vietnam- came together early last year to pass a resolution that enshrined an official UN World Toilet Day.
“Open defaecation”or pooping in bush or in fields was the order of the day before leaders of this movement were trained on Health seeking behaviors, sanitation and safe disposal of human waste. Prior without their knowledge, human faeces with dizzying number of potential viruses, bacteria worm eggs were lying in their Church and home compounds and were trodden on, touched and ingested in food and water. Consequences were evident in diarrhea caused by contaminated water, food and environment, undernourishment and opportunistic infections caused frequent diarrhea episodes and mineral deficiencies caused by worm infestation.
Women and girls were particularly affected as they had to look for somewhere safe for modesty’s sake, exposing them to risk of rape or animal attacks including snake bites. Fortunately, there is much more to warrant jubilation. The unique pits that every church and home compounds of each member are continuing to build, has greatly improved safe disposal of human waste and reduced the incidences of diarrhea among children.
The photo above depicts Members of Dini ya Roho Mafuta pole in a training session.
After the members of Dini ya Roho Mafuta pole which is the largest Independent church among the Pokot community, were trained in Faith for life, they learn that simple practices such as Washing of hands and Safe disposal of faeces would greatly reduce many illnesses, especially the diarrhea in both children and adults in their area. Members trained were drawn from the entire Pokot community in both Kenya and Uganda embarked on a campaign dubbed” unique pits for unique faith” that resulted to construction of 70 pit latrines in congregations and 800 households. The marking of the UN word day of Toilet in Pokot was accompanied by a commitment by the church leaders to fight HIV and AIDS related stigma discrimination and ensure Zero infection and death as a result of HIV.