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actualité | 06 Juillet 2016 | | Emergency

Villages in Pakistan celebrate open defecation free status

ACTED staff members at the CLTS celebration on June 4th 2016 in Achar Khan Dahani village in North Sindh.

On June 4th 2016, ACTED celebrated the achievement of 12 villages in North Sindh, Pakistan, becoming open defecation free. This is a major achievement in a country ranked third in the world for highest rate of open defecation.

The Community-led Total Sanitation approach

Open defecation has severe health and nutritional consequences, such as the spread of many diseases and intestinal infections which can result in stunting among children.ACTED is currently implementing a DFID funded multi-year humanitarian programme, carrying out shelter, WASH and FSL activities in natural disaster-affected communities across Pakistan. Community-led Total Sanitation (CLTS) is an approach utilized by ACTED under this programme. It mobilizes communities to effectively eliminate open defecation. During the current residual recovery response, a total of 26 villages were targeted for CLTS in North Sindh. Communities themselves analyzed open defecation in their villages and took action to eliminate it. 12 villages have so far succeeded in becoming open defecation free and ACTED decided to celebrate this achievement and encourage other communities to follow suit.

Children draw pictures of good and bad hygiene while community members discuss CLTS

The village of Achar Khan Dahani hosted the celebration

To celebrate, the 12 villages convened in Village Achar Khan Dahani, of UC Naseer Kashmore in Kandhkot of North Sindh. This area is particularly affected by the annual floods, with many households forced to cope with severe damages to their livelihoods. The event was the opportunity for ACTED WASH school clubs to deliver key messages related to domestic, personal and environmental hygiene; a poem was recited by girls on CLTS; a play was performed by children comparing a family engaging in proper hygiene practices to one that doesn’t; and a drawing competition.

The event was concluded by beneficiaries presenting feedback on the CLTS activities, a Sindhi cultural dance, prize distribution to children participants and closing remarks by ACTED staff.

"We need to remain clean by washing our hands after using latrines, especially before taking meals to remain safe from diseases. Now we are safer as we are an open defecation free village and we will maintain this status. We are thankful to ACTED for supporting us and creating awareness.”
- Juma, village elder and host of the event

Open defecation is a public health issue in Pakistan

This achievement holds special significance in Pakistan, where – according to WHO – approximately 40 million Pakistanis do not have access to a proper latrine and practice open defecation. Affected children are consequently more at risk for diseases, have lower achievement in school and can pass the condition onto their future children. The public health implications are also severe, with around 3 million Pakistanis dealing with infections from water borne diseases every year. An estimated 250,000 children in Pakistan under the age of 5 years die every year due to water borne diseases – with diarrhea being the leading cause of death for children