Orbis Ireland

Orbis' mission is to preserve and restore sight by strengthening the capacity of local partners in their efforts to prevent and treat blindness with the vision that this will lead to a world in which no one is needlessly blind, where quality eye care, education, and treatment are available to every human being.
Jul 1, 2014

Local Orbis Worker Making a Difference in Konso

Tadesse Data
Tadesse Data

Orbis' work would not have the powerful impact on improving environmental hygiene without the team of dedicated staff who work within the project communities daily. Tadesse Data manages the Orbis project in Konso, a village located 90km from Arbaminch with a population of 257,000. He works in collaboration with the Konso health office to plan, implement and follow-up the construction of latrines until they are ready for use by the local communities Construction of communal latrines starting from site selection up to the completion of the construction can take 2 to 4 months, during which time Tadesse's commitment is fundamental to the success of the project.

The average number of households using the communal latrine is about 80 which is approximately 480 individuals. This improved sanitation has had long-term significant benefits for the community and the active involvement of communities is central for the project to have a lasting impact. The construction of such latrines demonstrates to the local communities that the use of such facilities could reduce the disease transmission and maintain a clean and healthy environment. Once communities understand the value and benefit of latrine use, they can then construct their own latrine from cheap local materials. Dedicated and experienced staff members like Tadesse encourage the local community to embrace the changes that these latrines bring. In this way your generous donation can reach it's maximum potential.

Jul 1, 2014

Water Scheme serves 100 households

Rehabilitation of non-functioning Water Schemes
Rehabilitation of non-functioning Water Schemes

Before Orbis' intervention, within the Konso area almost 60% of the water-pumps were non-functional. Orbis implemented a strategy to repair the non-functional water schemes which involved training community members on how to perform minor repairs on these pumps to ensure they are in working order. This strategy is focused on educating the local community on how to maintain the water schemes and also the importance and value of clean water. In this way, Orbis is working to implement long term, community based solutions to the problem of water hygiene in this area. 

A single water scheme could serve a population of up to 100 households. If the scheme is located in a school it can serve more than 1000 students.The average cost of maintenance for each water scheme is about ETB10,000 or €407. If there is sufficient budget the repair of the water pump should not take longer than 2 days, however, if a spare part is required this could take 2-3 days to secure.

One of the best ways to prevent the transmission of trachoma is by encouraging face and hand washing - not easy where water is scarce. Orbis representatives have started to train teachers about facial cleanliness, personal hygiene, environmental sanitation and how to wash hands effectively to prevent the spread of bacteria. In order to train the local community, it is important that water is readily available. Your generous support ensures that these water schemes continue to supply essential clean water to rural communities.

May 14, 2014

Women's Role in Improving the Environment

Household Pit Latrine
Household Pit Latrine

Traditionally, in rural Ethiopia, the community members go to the woods or fields to defecate. Women in particular are discouraged from defecating or urinating where they could be seen during the day and usually have to wait until the night to relieve themselves.

As part of the implementation of the SAFE strategy, Orbis works to encourage communities to construct household pit latrines. Demonstration latrines are built by Orbis in communities to illustrate the ease with which a latrine can be constructed using materials readily available in the community. 

Often, through Women's Group leaders, it is the women who champion latrine construction in homes and communities. They encourage their husbands and family members to work together to clear land near their homes, to dig pits, to gather local resources, and to build structures to enclose the pits. Latrine structures consist of whatever materials a family have on hand: sticks, mud, tree branches, gourds, plastic sheeting, and so on. Many families construct a hand washing station, also made of local materials, next to the latrine to encourage proper hygiene.

Using a household latrine reduces the population of flies transmitting the bacteria that causes trachoma. The privacy provided by the latrines also allows women the freedom to relieve themselves when they need to during the day and improve their safety as they no longer have to go far from their homes after dark. This helps to address some of the inequalities women face in their homes and communities.

By actively leading the latrine construction movement, women not only help themselves, but serve their communities in the fight against trachoma. 

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