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Loans for Latrines: Innovations for Good Hygiene in Malawi

By Emily Riemer

If Opportunity International‘s mission is to empower people to improve their quality of life and their futures, then good hygiene is critical. Not only does this lead to less illness and improved overall health, but it also helps people live with greater dignity.

With that in mind, Opportunity Malawi has entered into a partnership with the Hygiene Village Project (HVP), a local water and sanitation NGO based in the Blantyre District of southern Malawi. The partnership, already up and running at Opportunity Malawi’s Ndirande branch, helps provide families with environmentally-sound latrines.

At least seven hygiene Trust Groups, each comprised of about 60 families, have now taken out a loan from Opportunity for a latrine. Forty-six latrines have already been constructed. An installed latrine costs about $175 and the loan is repaid monthly over the course of a year.

Hygiene Village is an NGO that raises awareness in communities about the need for clean water and sanitation. The group, which encourages and trains families to utilize pit latrines, is conducting meetings. Participating clients are offered training that encourages them to start small businesses to construct and install the Hygiene Village latrines.

A Hygiene Village latrine.

The latrines are a significant improvement over the makeshift sanitation found throughout Blantyre. They include ventilation and a mechanism that allows them to be emptied easily. They are designed to treat the waste with ash every time they’re used. After about a year of following this method, the waste is transformed into a safe and organic fertilizer for fields. While the latrine has obvious advantages, Opportunity Malawi is working closely with partnering organizations to ensure that the waste collection does not become a burden over time to the families and to confirm that the installation method is secure from the risk of theft.

Want more news from Opportunity Malawi? U.N. secretary-general Ban Ki-moon paid a visit to a mobile banking unit there, the Nkhata Bay bank kiosk openedcell phone banking was introduced, and the opening of the satellite bank branch in Ndirande Township. Check back in to the blog periodically for more updates from Malawi and everywhere that Opportunity serves.

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