Sudan: Partnering with Locals to find Sanitation Solutions in Sudan

From February 2016 to March 2019, AAR Japan worked to install water supply equipment in the Reefi Aroma locality of Kassala State, 500km east of the capital Khartoum, in Sudan. The aim was to increase the use of toilets, and enact waste management countermeasures. Akemi KITA, who oversees activities in Sudan, sent this report from the Tokyo office on the actions taken and their results.

Dramatically reducing time needed to fetch water

In 2014, only 13.1% of the Kassala state population had access to safe water; this was strikingly low compared to 68.1% for all of Sudan. Within this state, in the Reefi Aroma locality, AAR Japan installed water supply equipment; including water tanks, pipes, and water stations in seven locations across six villages.
Water supply equipment built by AAR Japan was handed over to the local government at a Handover Ceremony. (July 2017)

As a consequence of these efforts, approximately 5,900 residents across six villages who used to spend an average of 2.5 hours walking to rivers or wells in neighboring villages to fetch water, have not only gained access to safe water, but can now do so in under 40 minutes. To ensure the future sustainability of the water supply equipment, AAR Japan created a Water Management Committee comprised of local residents. Training was conducted on how to maintain and the equipment and how to adequately manage the usage fees. Furthermore, to prevent contamination of the well water, we conducted training for the residents who live near the equipment regarding hygiene and sanitation.

The pipes supply water, is drawn using electricity generated by the solar panels, to residential areas. (December 2018)

There were even villages where all of the residents began using toilets

In this region, the rate of toilet usage is low to the point where there are villages where there is not a single house within the village with a toilet. Consequently, many residents were in the habit of excreting outdoors. To create a shift in mindset where residents feel that “I want to use a toilet”, AAR Japan conducted workshops and then built toilets for households with the residents who came forward wanting them. The toilets were simple ones, made using readily available materials such as wood and plastic sheets, and because they could be easily built, residents’ desire to build toilets increased. By March 2019, toilets had been built in over 260 households. There were even villages where all of the residents began using toilets, which was a big achievement.
Yuuhei HONDA of AAR Japan (left) checking on a toilet built for a residence. (May 2018)
In Aroma Town, the capital of Reefi Aroma, the trash collection vehicle had broken down and trash had continued to be left in the streets, so AAR Japan provided the local government with a trailer for collecting trash. We built a collection schedule for the trash collection with the local officials responsible for this service. Simultaneously, we repeatedly conducted awareness events regarding sanitary issues arising from discarding of trash and the proper disposal manner. As a result, the town became so clean that even the residents themselves were surprised. A local women’s group formed with the intent of focusing on educating the residents on issues of health and sanitation.
Residents cleaning alongside the trash collection trailer provided by AAR Japan (December 2018)

Aiming for Continued Action

Through the three years of activities, an environment where many residents have access to safe water was put in place, and the region’s health and sanitation conditions also improved. AAR Japan took various measures so that even after AAR Japan ends its activities, the residents would be able to continue sanitation efforts themselves. This included conducting six months of on-the-job training for local government officials responsible for the region. The training taught them how to plan and execute on sanitation efforts as well as how to confirm outcomes. While AAR Japan’s activities in Kassala state have come to an end, moving forward, the Water Management Committee members and the women’s group driving sanitation activities will, alongside government representations, will work to improve the sanitary conditions.

AAR Japan’s staff lecture on topics such as ongoing maintenance and management of the water supply equipment and the residents’ health. (November 2018)
As of October 2019, AAR Japan closed our Kassala office. Thank you to everyone who have supported us with our efforts.
AAR Japan will continue our efforts through our Khartoum office.
These activities were possible through all of your donations and support from the Grant Assistance for Japanese NGO Project of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Akemi KITA, AAR Japan, Tokyo Office (Profile as of the date of this article)
After working in a hospital as a clinical technologist, she studied public health in Thailand. KITA joined AAR Japan after returning to Japan. After working abroad in the Zambia Office, Myanmar Office, and Pakistan Office, she started working at the Tokyo office in May of 2017. She is originally from Nagasaki.

Japanese-English translation by Mr. Yasuhiro Kusakawa
English editing by Ms. Dianne Gamage
This article has been translated by volunteers as part of the AAR Japan's Volunteer Programme. Their generous contributions allow us to spread our activities and ideas globally, through an ever-growing selection of our reports from the field.