Promoting hygiene and health in Kharoro Syed, Umarkot

Umarkot was known for the fact that more than 80 percent of its rural population practiced open defecation, exacerbating water-borne diseases like diarrhoea. This meant families were spending abnormally large amounts of money on medication.

The Thar Dhat Development Organization (TDDO) is a civil society organization working on community-led sanitation, health and education in rural Umarkot. With support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Coca Cola, it has installed 750 bio-sand filters and constructed 250 latrines across union council Kharoro Syed. TDDO’s team also conducted community awareness sessions and trainings on health, general and personal hygiene and the deleterious effects of open defecation.

The impact of these activities has been tremendous. People are better informed about general cleanliness and now dispose of rubbish properly.

Village Mandhal Halepoto

Mandhal Halepoto was found to have just two latrines when first surveyed by TDDO. The organization also observed a lack of waste receptacles and proper water sources. The latter contributed to poor hygiene and ultimately disease.

Anwar Halepoto, a local social activist, plays the role of village representative and coordinated the construction of six latrines in his village. He also nominated people for 16 bio-sand filters. Forty-two families are now living in a clean environment and using latrines, thereby reducing the spread of disease.

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Village Akheraj Bheel

Bhagli, 41, a wife and mother of 6 used to walk 2–3 kilometres every day to fetch water. The installation of her bio-sand filter saves time and saves on money otherwise spent on medication to combat water-borne diseases.

“I never thought I would have access to water at my doorstep. It frees me for other work, gives me more time with my family and keeps my children healthy,” says Bhagli.

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Village Hameer Bheel

Open defecation was a standard practice in Hameer Bheel. Apart from the aforementioned disease linkage, it can also be dangerous for women who must defecate in the open either very early or very late in the day in an attempt at finding privacy and freedom from harassment.

The village is now considered open-defecation free as some 154 villagers are using latrines and practicing improved personal hygiene.

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