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Stories: Children, Community, Future

A green and clean environment for all

When ChildFund started its community development projects in Ha Vi in 2006, about 40% of households had access to sanitation facilities. Research showed that the health of community members was being negatively impacted by open defecation practices, and that families had little knowledge of the long-term effect on the local environment.

“We were determined to build this double vault latrine in 2005 after attending a ChildFund workshop. Before that, we didn’t really think much about open defecation – we thought if it was hidden under the ground, it wouldn’t do much harm. But the fact is that human discharge was almost everywhere and it made the village very unhealthy,” says Mon, age 45.

“We were determined to build this double vault latrine in 2005 after attending a ChildFund workshop.” Mon, 45

ChildFund began implementing a range of water and sanitation projects in Ha Vi in 2005. This included supporting households in the commune to build latrines. These can be either double vault or a dual septic model, depending on the natural conditions of each village.

“We fill up each vault in six months. Then we put ash inside the vault to cover the pit, and close the pit for six months so that the human waste can be composted. This can then be used as fertiliser for our farming activities,” adds Mon.

Fertilizers from organic waste have a positive effect on soil and food quality and therefore benefit the farmers as well as the consumers. Available and affordable natural fertilizer such as compost can be used.

ChidFund’s projects in water and sanitation also resulted in greater awareness about child health issues among the local community. “You can see that this latrine is still working really well as there is no smell around. We, the people in this village, agree our living surrounds have improved. Not all households were supported by ChildFund to build latrines but, having seen the benefits for households like us, those families who are better-off paid for the construction themselves,” says Mon.

As at Jan 2017, 96% of households in Ha Vi now have access to proper sanitation facilities. Mon adds: “Thanks to ChildFund’s support, we are more aware of the importance of a clean environment for our health, and are now eager to commit to making our village a better place to live. Everyone follows a common code of keeping the surrounding areas neat and tidy so we can all enjoy it.”

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