This week my attention was drawn to one of the five initiatives of SEAP in Boma – Community Health. Henry Okumu, our Director in Africa explained the need for improved sanitation in the villages with particular reference to the proper disposal of human waste. I realize that in the West we take this for granted but using a latrine in South Sudan is not a normal activity. A study conducted in 2014, explained that it was often not the social norm for people in East Africa to have their own latrines and that they usually did not have the resources to pay for or construct a latrine.
SEAP, through its missionary staff, provides public education on issues of community health and sanitation through public forums – such as provided by church and school meetings. Dissemination of basic information about the importance of constructing and using latrine is done to build people’s capacity to take control of their own health to ensure a healthy community.
Both aspiring church leaders and students at Faith Learning Center are being encouraged to take action and help promote the idea in their villages. Children are trained to use the latrines at school as it can be a good preventive measure against the common diseases such as diarrhea and infestation by intestinal parasites which in turn causes malnutrition. A sick malnourished and sick population reinforces the vicious circle of poverty.
Although the concept of using latrine is alien and difficult to instill in a deeply remote, and traditional community like Boma, Isaac Lopio, an aspiring church leader, has taken a bold step to dig a pit for a makeshift pit-latrine for his household. I know Isaac personally as he was instrumental as a translator for me on my dissertation project. He has taken a lead role in helping the community see the need and relevance for health and sanitation. We hope Isaac’s efforts will provide a good example for the Boma Christians and eventually to all the villagers in taking control of their public health issues.
If you would like to support our efforts in Boma to promote health and sanitation, please consider a gift to help us continue this important work. Isaac, a Boma Murle, is taking the lead and we need to support his efforts to make this a reality for all in Boma.
Thank you for all your prayers and support.
Donnie Brake, Ed.D