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Saturday, July 13, 2024

SLURC & Partners Hand Over Three Biofil Toilets to Colbot, Dwarzack & Abacha Street Communities

By Millicent Senava Mannah

As part of their three years OVERDUE Project, the Sierra Leone Urban Research Centre in partnership with CODOHSAPA, Freetown City Council, FEDURP and other likeminded organizations, has handed over three Biofil Toilets in three different communities namely the Colbot, Dwarzack and Abacha Street Communities. This new development took place in the aforementioned Communities respectively, on Wednesday 1st November, 2023.

It must be noted that the OVERDUE Project makes provision for infrastructural trajectories and possible pathways to tackle the issue that deals with sanitation taboo across African cities and is also geared towards achieving gender responsive owned sanitation facilities in Freetown.

“The focal or felt needs of the Dwarzack and Colbot Communities were Communal toilets and for Abacha Street it was a public toilet as it emanated from a research we conducted and preliminary findings highlighted the existing problem of inequitable toilet access (both public and communal) and those were what we sought to address,” Brima Koroma, Director of Research and Training at the Sierra Leone Urban Research Centre (SLURC) revealed.

He further intimated that their intervention in Dwarzack and Colbot Communities, established settlements with residents differed from that of the Abacha Street Community, a business area that attracts business owners, who spend the day there and return to their respective homes in the evening having customers or members of the public who pass by and spend some limited time there, before continuing to their next destination

The Director admonished residents or people in these three communities to handle the facilities responsibly as well as disclosing that the facilities are disabled friendly.

“It was encouraging to see how the Chiefs were enthusiastic and for their commitments to the Project. Indeed, their support and active involvement were crucial in fostering community ownership and ensuring the sustainability and effectiveness of the interventions,” Braima Koroma also maintained.

The Director of CODOHSAPA, Francis Refell, also emphasized the importance of maintenance of the facilities promising how there will be more opportunities if they handle the facilities responsibly.

He mentioned how they saw the need for such facilities  in the aforementioned Communities stating how that was the reason why they intervened  and assured them of their commitments to continue working with them.

The Chief of Dwarzark highlighted that it is the first time for them as community residents to benefit from such a community-owned project, expressing gratitude and assured of their utmost commitment in ensuring the sustainability of the intervention.

On his part, Chief of the Colbot Community also expressed his deepest appreciation, on behalf of his residents, for such a timely intervention in their community. He lamented how sanitation had been a big problem in their community expressing optimism that this venture will help in tackling it.

The Chairlady of Abacha Street also showed gratitude, on behalf of traders and other users, for the provision of the facility and at the same time assuring of handling it responsibly.

It must be noted that the lack of access to proper sanitation facilities is a significant issue in many of Freetown’s informal settlements and women as well as girls are particularly affected by that issue, as they face additional challenges due to gender-related norms and practices.

In many cases, women and girls are forced to use unsafe and unhygienic facilities, which can lead to serious health risks. The lack of access to proper sanitation also affects the overall health and well-being of the community, as it can lead to the spread of diseases.

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