People living near Debre Zeit, Ethiopia travel to open markets twice weekly to purchase food and household supplies. Hundreds of families often travel several miles both ways. With no public restrooms, people are often forced to use open areas and fields as their restrooms. Lack of sanitation facilities creates an obvious health challenge for the citizens of this thriving and entrepreneurial city.
In 2017, we partnered with the Ministry of Health, and became the first NGO to create the Open Defecation Free (ODF) Program. Our program is designed to educate and eradicate the practice of open defecation. We were also the first NGO to construct public latrines in every major open market around Debre Zeit. Each of our five public latrines have eight stalls, a shower, sink, and soap for hand washing.
We estimate that our public latrines serve an average of 50,000 people. Because our latrines are used by many, frequently we have plans to build one more in 2020. In light of COVID-19 heavily circling the globe, we are grateful that these sanitation and hand washing measures are readily available to the citizens of Debre Zeit.