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2013.02.07

Assistance that leads to self-reliance

On January 22, I was appointed to my current post in South Sudan. We are based in the capital Juba of Central Equatoria state. In Afghanistan where I was in charge before, I also implemented program support of improvement of environmental hygiene, or "WASH (Water, Sanitation, Hygiene)". The key was how to promote autonomy of the local people throughout these programs. I feel that this is going to be a difficult subject ever in this country.
I'll show you an example. It was when I visited an elementary school in the city of Juba with local officials.

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The principal told me that there was no bathroom, however, there were four pit grave toilets within a radius of about 50 meters in the school rear grounds.
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The soil of the ground was of the type called “black cotton soil” , or black swell soil. The soil was weak and on the brink of collapse. The four toilets were sinking in the land and there was a big gap between the floor of the bathroom booths and the ground.
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Behind the four-room bathrooms, there was a different type of toilets with three rooms. Not only these three-room bathrooms were leaning forward, but also were tipped to one side. There was another structure that looked like a bathroom even further behind. It was pit toilet with one partition, was obviously not kept in good condition, and the door was broken.

The principal told me that he had requested construction of new toilets to a variety of NGO.  It seems like as soon as there would be another support, these bathrooms were being used as if they were disposable bathrooms.
In order for people of South Sudan to build an independent nation with sense of sustainable autonomy, there needs an accumulation of small changes of consciousness. It seems a deep-rooted problem at first glance, but I would like to work on creating those “opportunities” that help people “wake” and realize the consciousness.

(Program Officer, Nahoko Araki)

February 7, 2013 in South Sudan |