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.
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. 

Feb 11, 2014

Building and Maintaining Community Latrines

Have you ever thought about just how important our ceramic friends can be? ORBIS has been building and maintaining community latrines since 2007. As a pivotal element of the SAFE strategy for trachoma elimination, providing community access to sanitation facilities is a high priority for our staff in Ethiopia. 

Before the intervention of ORBIS, open defecation was common in this part of Ethiopia. With a dense population and poor hygiene facilities at hand, this practice aids the spread of disease and sickness. Building community latrines provides people with basic facilities that help stop the spread of diseases like trachoma. 

In Bonke, southern Ethiopia, ORBIS is working to ensure that local villagers have access to these facilities. In doing so, we are ensuring that trachoma elimination will be achieved. When coupled together with the other elements of the SAFE strategy, we are providing a firm effort to reach our goal where no one is needlessly blinded by this awful disease. 

ORBIS Ireland has been fighting against trachoma in southern Ethiopia for over seven years now. Our goal is to eliminate trachoma from a population of around two million people living in some of the poorest areas of this country. None of our work would be possible without the generous support of people like you. On behalf of all those who will benefit from your continued support, thank you!

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Feb 11, 2014

Providing Clean Water to the People of Dita

In southern Ethiopia, water is a very precious commodity indeed. However, ensuring that the local population can access clean, potable water is a priority in our work. The WHO recommended SAFE strategy for trachoma elimination places a huge emphasis on the need for clean water. Without this vital life giving resource, eliminating trachoma would be impossible. 

Our staff in Ethiopia are working hard to spread the word about the importance of hand and face washing. This action ensures that trachoma infections cannot take hold. Given that trachoma is a highly infectious disease, it is vital that we spread the word about facial cleanliness.

We have been working in Dita for over seven years now and the results of providing clean water to this area are starting to become ever more obvious. We can see that children have bright, clean faces and that their eyes are free from trachoma infection. Even more amazing is the fact that their parents too are learning the importance of hand and face washing in the battle to eliminate trachoma from this densely populated region.

ORBIS is working in partnership with WaterAid to ensure that the people of this region have access to clean water. The knock on effect of providing clean water to the people of Dita is that other diseases will decline too; meaning that your support for our trachoma elimination project goes even further. Without you, our work would not be possible and on behalf of all those who will directly benefit from your support, thank you.

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