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Beach toilets to improve sanitation in Likoma

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Likoma District Council has embarked on a sanitation and hygiene project meant to arrest the rampant open defecation in the beaches of the island district through construction of toilets along the fishing shores.

Confirming the development, council chairperson councillor Samuel Chithira said the project is line with the district’s development plan which is running from 2014 to 2019.

“It is clearly stated in our district development plan that the Council will construct public toilets in the beaches to deal with the problem of poor sanitation and hygiene in beaches, households and institutions especially regarding refuse disposal and rampant open defecation. This exercise is just an implementation stage of those plans,” said Chithira.

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He was speaking Thursday in an interview on the sidelines of an interface meeting conducted by National Initiative for Civic Education (Nice) in the district.

According to Chithira, voluntary beach committees will be responsible for the management of the toilets once they are completed to ensure their sustainability.

Speaking earlier, Traditional Authority Mkumpha described the project as a timely intervention to save the beaches from unhygienic practices that posed health risks to both residents and travelers alike.

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Sanitation and hygiene and HIV/Aids are some of the issues in Nice’s basket of crosscutting issues it promotes in communities.

“So far, NICE has also facilitated self-construction of toilets on beaches as one way of promoting hygiene and sanitation. It was commonly known that most fishermen use shrubberies and the lake due to lacking toilets but the trend is slowly changing for the better,” said Likoma district civic education officer Patrick Chikoti.

“It is pleasing now that through civic engagement, the communities understand the importance of taking part in dealing with the challenges they face. For example, the issue of sanitation is very serious here but it is encouraging that the people have understood the importance of erecting toilets without being forced. Now, with the efforts of the council, we expect the problem to be dealt with once and for all,” said Chikoti.

Earlier this year, Group Village Headman Mwase in the district said during a similar interface that health workers were not doing enough to push for hygiene in the communities which mostly use the surrounding lake waters as toilets.

Mwase said there was need for community health workers to take a leading role in changing the people’s mindset about using the lake as a sanitary facility.

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