Today 22 March World Water Day is celebrated. The theme of the Water Day of the Year is "valuing water", which will reflect on the value of water and what it means to us: water has a wide range of uses and we cannot do without water. The World Water Day website provides more information about the theme day.
The theme of the day is also important in the development cooperation project of TYY and the Global Dry Toilet Association of Finland in Zambia. The project is closely related to water, as Zambia suffers from water shortages in the countryside as well as in the cities. The project improves sanitation by building toilets and boreholes, and improves hand hygiene through, for example, handwashing dispensers and training.
"On the countryside, water-seeking journeys are still long and the city has water interruptions and other problems, the tap water quality is not safe for drinking at least. In this context, untreated wastewater or poor sanitation also pollute our waterways and valuable groundwater in many ways, so dry toilets have more advantages than just saving water," says Sari Laurila, the project manager of the Dry Toilet Association of Finland.
The joint project began in January
The project of TYY and Dry Toilet Association of Finland officially started at the beginning of the year. An evaluation of the previous project was carried out in January, which provided hints on where the previous project has been successful and which still requires investment and special attention.
According to Laurila, it is important to invest in training and involve local people in project areas, as technical matters, construction, maintenance and the use of toilet products are even better. Training and the involvement of locals will also be at the heart of the project that has just begun. "The use of toilet outputs is challenging in some places, so its training needs to be further intensified and, on the other hand, the mechanisms for processing the service in places where it is not possible to use the outputs for one's use need to be developed."
It is not just about water and sanitation, but also about improving conditions as a whole. Following TYY's development cooperation criteria, the project promotes several goals of the UN Agenda 2030. The project pays attention to accessibility. Besides, the project takes into account the status of women, girls and people with disabilities. More emphasis will also be placed on the fight against climate change during this project period.
“Currently, in addition to the actual project activity schedules, project baseline studies are planned. It is quite a large entity with 16 project areas and each has five different levels of baseline research. In other words, we surveyed the situation and capacity of county civil servants, communities and families, and last week we completed the relevant questionnaires. The situation of the entire administration of the country (at the ministerial level) and, among other things, the implementation of various strategies will be examined separately. Also, the capacity of each partner organisation will be examined. Baseline mapping gives us data for monitoring and implementation, and while doing these mapping surveys, we introduce target groups to our project and topic. After basic research, we can start real action in the regions. ” Laurila says.
The effects of the corona in Zambia
When project funding was applied a year ago, no one knew how long the current corona situation would last. Throughout the year, TYY's Development Cooperation Wing has operated almost completely remotely, and no physical events have been organised to tell about the project. According to Laurila, the corona situation in Zambia has improved somewhat from its peak at the beginning of the year and about 300 infections have been reported daily. On the other hand, the number of tests is low compared to Finland. Schools have opened, although there are still restrictions on assembly. The economic situation of the country and the people is difficult and only a few have the opportunity to work remotely.
Laurila is hopeful that she will be able to travel to Zambia as early as April-May. “Sure, it would be safer to travel only after getting the vaccine, but now, unfortunately, it seems that for the ordinary citizen ’the vaccination time can take a long time and I can’t really wait any longer and then travel is with low risk (as anyway) and testing is required and country of origin and arrival."
TYY has received a fundraising permit for the project and donations can already be made in connection with the membership fee for the coming academic year. Besides, TYY will allocate half of this year's 0.7% donation to the Zambia project. “An overalls badge and a graphic look have been designed for the project. Hopefully, soon we will be able to organize various events as well.”, hopes Satu Nurmi, TYY's Specialist for International Affairs.
►You can read more about the project on the project website