Malawi: Justice is seen to be done as Elephant Toilet puts paid to the inconvenient courtroom

Hundreds of villagers sit silently on the hard stone floor of the courthouse in Chikako. […] It is striking, that in this conservative and patriarchal society, the crowd is half male, half female. Until only a few months ago, justice was a strictly male affair and women rarely travelled to the courthouse.

The reason was […] simply that Chikako had no lavatory. Modest Malawian women did not feel comfortable using the bush to relieve themselves with so many men around [and] there was […] cholera. […] Last summer Pump Aid […] installed an Elephant Toilet – a latrine with a few simple innovations – in Chikako.

[…] The pin-pricked bottom half of a plastic bottle is placed at the top of a chimney on the roof of the structure. Sunlight heats the bottle, drawing air upwards to remove bad smells and flies, which get trapped inside.

Concrete elephant toilet slab / photo Pump Aid

Concrete elephant toilet slab / photo Pump Aid

A concrete slab with two “elephant ears” – one for each foot – sits across the pit, and a channel for urine diverts the flow into a compost heap, meaning that the pit lasts twice as long as other latrines.

[…] Chief Chometra is overjoyed at the result. He decided to place the Elephant Toilet outside the courtroom so people from neighbouring villages would see it and generate demand for more. But he is pleased, too, because women now come to his courtroom.

Source: Rosemary Bennett, Times, 03 Dec 2008

One response to “Malawi: Justice is seen to be done as Elephant Toilet puts paid to the inconvenient courtroom

  1. I visit Malawi quite often and the hardship of life in many villages is appaling. No wonder Mr. De Sotto, the author of “The Mystery of Capital” used the country as an example.

    I got much love for you guys. I appreciate the work your are doing.

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