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Published On: Sat, Nov 21st, 2015

Somaliland:An immediate National Policy is needed to address Toiletry

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Problem bigger than what a one-day international observation event can handle

The globally international World Toilet Day has sadly gone as silently as it came. Yes, as silently because no Somalilander, if any, knew or was reminded at all, of its existence.

As depicted above, this is quite sad, because majority of the people in the country-side and all urban centres are supposedly amongst the over 2.4 billion people of the human race who lack access to proper sanitation and the over 1 billion people who defecate in the open, sorry to say, as if in the wild.

Despite the efforts to have this problem with all its intensity to have extensive global limelight, little or no effort has ever been made to address the issue in this country.

Ironically in our backyard if the issue has ever been addressed at all it has however to with or have been catalyzed be the obvious need for the facilities in newly built settlement schemes or a CBO or two has managed to clinch a project of the sort, mostly likely, capitally motivated. This is evidenced by the fact that at no time whatsoever has the issue’s pros and cons been handed through national public campaigns and mobilization strategies as it rightly calls for as deserved.

The truth of the matter is that the dire need of the toilets and its sanitary amenities is so dire in the country that its severe lack rests at horrific proportions. Given that all our towns do not have the expected urban sewer systems we should have prioritized this matter at the highest national level.

As we celebrate World Toilet Day on 19 November, this feature assesses the impact of building latrines for a community in Xayira Village in Sool region of Somaliland

Water sanitation and hygiene (WASH) officer Ismail Awed Mohamed inspects a newly constructed latrine in Xayira village, Sool Region, Somaliland. The community members dig the pit and Medair provides the concrete slab and iron sheet structure. Medair, in partnership with local NGO Islamic Relief Committee, has so far built 38 for the 500 residents. © Medair/Elizabeth Murekio.

We know quite well that organizations as the civic councils were the best paced to be charged with the task of addressing the issue at its grassroots levels. They, with the muscles of the health departments, were supposed to have imparted upon the members of the public of the need to construct them.

By-laws should have been formulated by municipal and county councils to ban the existence or establishments of any rural settlements where toilets were absent. People should have otherwise been coerced to build the structures.

On supplementary basis the same civic councils could have built public toilet facilities which they would have under their management to be run in partnership or collaboration with area communities.

On the same basis we should have had local NGOs like our own SRCS, either eke into the cause or even remotely, try to disseminate the awareness of the indispensable need of toiletry facilities.

Apart from the personal anguishes individuals go through due the lack of such hygienic facilities, the threat to health hazards that abounds need no further explanations.

Worse of all are the media industry who have never seemed to have been bothered with this over-persistent seriously de-capacitating issue.

It is as if all the populace, the affluent and the commoners alike, refuse to own to the fact hence ‘sweep the embarrassments’ under their carpets!

Embarrassing or not the problem is of untold magnitude which MUST be addressed not in the future BUT expressly in the present. It is bigger than what a one-day international observation event can handle.

Lastly, a retro-respect is left as a major barb to our clergy. As Muslims and in a Muslim country, how have all the clergy whose Imams are at the pulpits of every mosque allow the populace to live in such conditions? What of the traditional leaders, Aqils and the Sultans, and the contemporary leaders of all titles? Aren’t the people in the country-side not their grandparents, parents, uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters, in-laws etc who are all Muslims? How do they live with or go about the anguishes when they visit the country-sides especially now that desertification is intensive and extensive?!

Surely something is seriously wrong. It calls for an immediate national policy on emergency basis.


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