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close this book Water purification, distribution and sewage disposal for Peace Corps volunteers
close this folder Section 7: Scope of disposal system projects in host communities
View the document Overview:
View the document Public health importance of excreta disposal
View the document How disease is carried from excreta
View the document The characteristics of an adequate system
View the document Possible sanitary measures in rural areas
View the document Soil and ground-water pollution
View the document Location of latrines and other excreta disposal facilities
View the document Sludge accumulation and the life of a pit privy
View the document Community participation
View the document Family participation
View the document Role of health department and other agencies
View the document Public versus private latrines
View the document Human factors
View the document Lesson plans

Role of health department and other agencies

The health department (if one exists) should be approached for assistance in organizing demonstration or pilot schemes of excrete disposal. Such demonstrations should be carried out first in health and welfare centers, in schools, and in residences of local health and sanitation officials. A demonstration plot of land suitably located and provided with sanitary excrete disposal units in various stages of completion is a desirable item in a planned sanitation improvement and training program. The health department should help to make available to the people and their leaders leaflets and manuals covering the design, construction, and operation of excrete disposal facilities that fit the conditions encountered in the areas concerned.

Wherever bad construction, poor ventilation and lighting, lack of washing facilities, insanitary toilets, or similar deficiencies exist [in schools], children will be absorbing wrong ideas and learning harmful habits which may never be eradicated...Similarly, a well-built and well-kept latrine may be far safer as well as of greater fundamental education value than a porcelain and tile toilet which is allowed to become dirty and a nuisance.

Mere classroom teaching of sanitation, unaccompanied by actual demonstration, will have little-if any-effect on children. It is well known that children learn by doing and through example, two facts which can be used to advantage in leading school children into the practice of a sanitary way of living. It goes without saying that you should lead the way and give the proper example to the people by living and working in sanitary surroundings.

Under certain circumstances, the role of the health department should be increased scope and importance. Such situations would arise, for example, in areas where crowding of houses or hard ground conditions make it necessary to put in some kind of collective sanitation facility, deep-bored holes inside houses, precast hand-flush installations in houses, or other types of excrete disposal systems which, because of physical circumstances, cannot be erected by the families themselves. In these cases a government, through its health department, may need to set up and maintain an efficient organization to carry out excrete disposal construction work. Here also the active participation and contribution of the local populations in the form of labor, materials, and money are absolutely required for the ultimate success of the excrete disposal program. The people should never be led to rely entirely on the health department for the provision, maintenance, or renewel of their sanitary facilities. An alternative solution which may sometimes be used Involves the formation of construction co-operatives by the people themselves under the sponsorship of the health department with your support.