168223 Successful prevention of open defecation through empowerment of schoolchildren in Bangladesh

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Selina Amin, MBBS MPH , Plan Bangladesh, Dhaka 1212, Bangladesh
Abdur Razzaqul Alam, MBBS, MPH , Bangladesh Country Office, Plan International, Washington, DC
Luis Tam, MD DrPH , Plan USA, Arlington, VA
THE PROBLEM. 96% of children in rural Bangladesh are worm infested. Open defecation by children and adults is one of the direct causes to the problem. In the rural district of Jaldhaka, only 18% of households had latrines, most of them are located outside the living areas and are poorly built and maintained. THE SOLUTION. Plan Bangladesh, an international, humanitarian, child-centered organization, has introduced the Child-to-Child (CtC) approach of child empowerment and participation to prevent the open defecation among 100.000 children and adults in rural communities of Jaldhaka districts. As a child-centered adaptation of the increasing popular Community-Led Total Sanitation approach, the methods of CtC (e.g. student awareness, collaboration of parents and teachers, group commitment to achieve a specific objective, peer support and social pressure) were applied to prevent open defecation in school and community environments. For example, children decided to blow whistles when they found anybody defecating in the open. Furthermore, child and community-friendly performance indicators were agreed upon and applied. Plan Bangladesh also provided subsidized materials and expertise for building family latrines. THE RESULTS. (1) Open defecation has decreased by up to 70% in schools and community areas; (2) Latrine construction has increased by initiative of the families (3) Whistle blowing by children was a successful deterrent to open defecation and (4) Communities were more open to hearing and involving children. CONCLUSIONS. Based on these initial results, Plan Bangladesh has expanded this project to four additional rural districts and the city of Dhaka (total coverage 500,000 pop).

Learning Objectives:
To assess the impact of children's participation and empowerment in the prevention of open defecation in rural villages of Bangladesh

Keywords: Children, Environmental Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Not Answered