May 21, 2020
Toilets and taps | ACOM’s mission in Vanuatu
How models introduced by ABM and our partner are being replicated by locals across Vanuatu.
Just before COVID-19 travel restrictions began, ABM’s Terry Russell conducted a monitoring visit in Vanuatu to ABM’s Integrated Water, Sanitation and Hygiene and Literacy projects implemented by the Anglican Church of Melanesia (ACOM). He writes:
“Valua is not a normal Vanuatu village. It has no shops but it does have an airport. And lots and lots of toilets and taps.
“Valua is one of many villages in Vanuatu where ABM partner ACOM (Anglican Church of Melanesia) has been promoting hygiene and sanitation. In each such village, ACOM builds one model toilet and model tap at the local church or community centre.
“Some locals already had their own toilets but these have an older design that is smellier and attracts cockroaches and rats. The new toilet designs include a cement slab over the pit and a ventilation pipe to take gases out of the pit. Locals say it’s much cleaner.
“The new taps do not come with a fancy design but they come with a clear message. ACOM, often in conjunction with the local health department, runs hygiene awareness sessions that emphasise the importance of washing before meals and after visits to the toilet.
“In every village that I visited on the islands of Vanua Lava and Mota Lava, locals have begun using their own funds to replicate the new toilet design. In the village of Valua, locals have installed almost one toilet and one tap per household. Perhaps it is the most hygienic village in Torba province!”
ABM thanks our supporters, DFAT and Episcopal Relief and Development for making this water program possible. And we acknowledge the hard work of ACOM and local villagers to create a cleaner village environment.
Terry notes that much of this work will slow down as the spread of COVID-19 restricts ACOM’s ability to travel and to call meetings.
BUT the water supply systems and hygiene lessons developed through this program will be highly valuable to communities as they continue to face COVID-19.
This project is partly funded by Australian Aid through the #ANCP.