A source of dignity at home

WaterAid/ James Kiyimba

We all know a husband and wife duo that likes to dabble in a bit of home renovation. But do you know any couples that have built their own toilet from scratch?

Such is the quality of Domitila's new toilet and handwashing station that she is considered a role model in her community. But it wasn't always this way for the 26-year-old.

"As a family we did not care about washing our hands after using the toilet or handling food," Domitila explains. "Our latrine had a poor structure and was always dirty. Often our children would suffer from diarrheal diseases."

All of this changed when a team of village health care professionals, supported by WaterAid and Amref Health Africa, started teaching community members about good sanitation and hygiene practices. They spoke about the importance of washing hands with soap after using the toilet, as well as maintaining a clean environment.

These new lessons sparked Domitila into action. With the help of her husband, the mother of three constructed a new toilet in her home and also installed a handwashing facility nearby. 

“Having a good and clean toilet is a source of dignity in a home," Domitila says. "After knowing the dangers associated with poor sanitation, we decided to build a good latrine in our home, and we put a squat pan that deters flies from entering the pit.

"Traditional pit latrines are not easy to clean, they attract flies and they are always smelling. Our toilet does not smell at all - even when you have stress, you can relax in there.”

"After using the latrine, everyone washes hands from this Kibuyu chirizi (tippy tap) to avoid the spread of diseases. In the near future, I would like to replace this tippy tap with a permanent bucket with a tap."

Domitila is now an inspiration to her community, who look to her for advice on sanitation and hygiene improvement.

Domitila Elikana, 26, standing inside the new toilet she influenced her husband to construct, Chikobe Centre hamlet, Geita district, Tanzania, June, 2019.
WaterAid/ James Kiyimba
Domitila Elikana, 26, standing inside the new toilet she influenced her husband to construct, Chikobe Centre hamlet, Geita district, Tanzania, June, 2019.