Like other rural areas in Africa, the water supply and sanitation infrastructure in Togo is poor, which in turn results in illnesses as a result of hygiene deficits. The German Red Cross is cooperating with the Togolese Red Cross (TRC) in the Maritime region to improve drinking water supplies as well as hygiene and sewage water systems.
In rural areas access to clean drinking water is often non-existent or subject to restrictions. Most people seek relief in nature or use the "flying toilet"(open defecation in a plastic bag).Every year people die of hygiene-related illnesses such as cholera, typhoid and other pathogens which cause diarrhoea. Working together with the TRC and the responsible ministry in an EU-funded project, the GRC is improving the water supply in 60 villages by drilling new wells or repairing wells. Training in hygiene and education in the communities, in particular in the "Mother Clubs" and women's groups, initiated by the GRC and the TRC, has been successful. To ensure the wells continue to work in the future, each resident pays into a water fund to use the wells. This fund is administered by a water committee, the money being used for any necessary repairs.
Building wells and latrines
In order to improve hygiene in the villages around 2210 latrines were built with the help of the German Red Crossand funds provided by the EU. The villagers are proactively involved by providing sand and mud bricks. The preferred latrine model in Togo, as also recommended by the ministry, is the EcoSan toilet. These are designed so that solids and liquids are collected separately from one another. Urine can be mixed with water and used as a fertiliser. The solid waste is left to dry for several months in a chamber underneath the toilet. It can then also be used as a fertiliser. The outcome: Improved hygiene on the one hand as well as improved crop yields from the fields.
The new latrines are ceremoniously inaugurated in the villages. GRC staff member Andrea Kehrwald has described such a ceremony in her GRC blog.
Enjoying life and improved hygiene
In addition to the construction activities the main objective is to make people better aware of the subject of hygiene. In particular the women in Togo are very open and motivated in this regard. They learn, thanks to the great commitment of the Red Cross volunteers, about how illnesses are spread by having contaminated water and lack of hygiene, and then transfer this knowledge to other villagers. This takes place in very active events with dancing, singing and small sketches. The Togolese Red Cross can rely on many years of experience in this field.
Region: Togo, Martime
Duration: April 2011 -December 2015
Project volume: 2.56 million Euro
Financing: GRC, EU, donations
Partners: Togolese Red Cross (TRC)