A musician and activist whose songs about using latrines and washing hands are positively influencing the hygiene practices of communities in Mozambique; a widow who has risen through her caste status to lead a campaign against open defecation in her village in Ethiopia; and a toilet entrepreneur whose innovative partnership with local authorities is changing the way public toilets in Kenyan towns are managed, are the top winners of this year’s AMCOW AfricaSan Awards.
Musician Feliciano dos Santos was announced winner of the Grassroots Champion Award for dedicating his life and his music to campaigning for better public health through clean water and adequate sanitation. Santos and his Massukos Band have been using music to inspire thousands of villagers in rural Mozambique to curb the spread of disease by adopting good hygiene practices, such as washing hands, boiling drinking water and building latrines.
Takiso Achame, a widowed member of a traditionally discriminated community in the remote village of Shashera in Southern Ethiopia, was picked for the Distinguished Woman Leader in Sanitation for her exemplary local leadership over a communal cause. Even though her community often attracts the least attention from health promoters and local leaders in terms of accessing water supply, sanitation and hygiene services including awareness, Achame has become the self-appointed champion to eliminate open defecation in her village.
David Kuria won the Public Service Award for implementing a partnership model that is delivering safe, clean and affordable sanitation to the urban poor in Kenya. His company, Ecotact, is pioneering a private-public partnership approach with local authorities, and water and sewerage utilities to build public toilet malls in urban centres and informal settlements. By demonstrating the viability of sanitation as a business, David has been able to attract more than US$1.2 Million for the construction of 40 public toilet facilities in 12 municipalities in Kenya.
The top winners were announced by the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) Task Force on Sanitation during the Africa Water Week being held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (November 22-26, 2010).
Other winners announced are:
Aggrey Oluka, a Ugandan primary school head teacher who has been developing water, sanitation, and hygiene materials that are currently being used by millions of students in sub-Saharan Africa. (Grassroots Champion – Runner Up)
Sultan Wondimu, an Ethiopian local administration official who has successfully championed the attainment of 100% access to and use of sanitation facilities in his village, and mobilised an investment of US$1.3 million from development partners and government to enable his community and neighbouring communities to access water supply. (Grassroots Champion – Finalist)
Senait Mengesha Feleke, an Ethiopian deputy school director, for her role in improving the sanitation and hygiene conditions in schools, and particularly for helping adolescent girls to access and use improved sanitary pads and to access facilities like separate toilets. (Distinguished Woman Leader in Sanitation – Runner Up)
Dr Juliet Waterkeyn, a Zimbabwean who is pioneering the concept of Community Health Clubs to change hygiene behaviors among communities in five African countries. (Distinguished Woman Leader in Sanitation –Finalist)
Village Water Zambia, a local NGO, for their role in mobilizing communities in some 300 villages to take responsibility over their own hygiene, including digging their own pit latrines, digging refuse pits for the disposal of domestic waste, and erecting racks for utensils to prevent dogs from contaminating food. (Public Service Award – Runner Up)
A joint award to the Mozambiquan ministries of Public Works and Housing, and Health for their leadership in getting 185 villages to attain Open Defecation Free status in 2009. (Public Service Award – Finalist)
Source: AMCOW, 23 Nov 2010