For Headman Eliamon Muzamani (55) and his subjects, open defecation has been a routine when answering to nature’s call. Disease outbreaks like cholera, diarrhoea and even death were considered as something normal in their daily life.
Until the intervention of Nutrition Action Zimbabwe (NAZ), villagers under Headman Muzamani in Gululiji, Chiredzi have found a new lease of life. NAZ has provided villagers with support to eradicate open defecation through construction of toilets. Today Headman Muzamani leads in the championing anti open defecation. “There is a remarkable change in my village because people accept the knowledge we were given by Nutrition Action Zimbabwe to eradicate stunting by building toilets.
“Guluji village is now free from open defecation and we continue to encourage each other to build toilets, because now l have 5 homes which have toilets out of 66 homes and it’s a great achievement to us as a village,” said Headman Muzamani . Anna Mbaimbai a villager also expressed her joy on construction of toilets in Guluji. “As community we never saw anything wrong in the use of forest as substitute for toilets,” she said Mbaimbai said Nutrition Action Zimbabwe has helped eradicate a cultural system by also having a tippy tap (chigubhu gear) were people wash hands after the use of toilets.
Availability of proper sanitation facilities is much higher in urban than rural areas, as 52% of rural communities in Zimbabwe practice open defecation. According to National Population Census the practice is due to lack of toilets, washing facilities and sanitation knowledge. Open defecation results in stunting among children and remains prevalent among in Zimbabwe.
According to World Health Organisation stunting is the impared growth and development that children experience from poor nutrition, poor diet, inadequate psycho-social stimulation and poor water and sanitation conditions.