By; Vincent Gunde
Communities in the area of Traditional Authority Chakhaza in Dowa, Kasangazi Area Development Program, have hailed World Vision Malawi, a Non – Governmental Organization [NGO] implementing various interventions in the district, for introducing the new initiative of building latrines called Corbelled latrines dubbed in Chichewa, ‘’Mwamuna Apumule’’.
Corbelled latrines [ Mwamuna Apumule] does not use trees and cement in its construction but uses the same mud dug and separated into three layers for one type to be used along with the burnt bricks from the bottom to the top to make the wall of the latrine hard and not collapsing for years.
Many latrines constructed using logs of wood have collapsed and corbelled latrines will be used as a replacement for trees which have been destructed due to firewood and charcoal burning forcing the communities to buy firewood from other areas.
Corbelled latrines are being constructed by women in their Village Savings Loans [VSL] groups a development which has empowered women of the area in gender related roles and are doing a job of digging latrines by themselves which previously was done by men.
Mai Juliana Wotchi, Mai Likisina Thom and Mai Alefa Alikanjelo of Nakutepa villages, thanked World Vision for the initiative saying it has empowered them to do jobs which previously were being done by men.
The three women said in the past, when their latrines collapsed, they were just waiting for their husbands and men to do the job for them, saying the coming in of corbelled latrines have made men to rest from digging toilets and that’s where Mwamuna Apumule name, was driven from.
They said Village Savings loans groups [VSL]are made up in groups of 10 and all take part to dig one latrine in two or three days and move on to another member until all are reached out for everyone to have a latrine of corbelled.
….’’We are now confident that with the knowledge and skills learnt on how to dig a corbelled latrine, we can go anywhere to prove to the men that women also can dig latrines just the same as men. Had it been that this initiative came earlier, we would not have destroyed all the trees for covering latrines’ ’said Mai Alikanjero.
In 2017, Kasangazi WASH project introduced Sanitation Business Model aiming at ensuring that households adopt low cost sanitation technologies such as Corbelled latrines [ Mwamuna Apumule], the model employs Village Savings and loan groups to ensure that there is gender inclusion in sanitation.