The official certification of Benin’s first ODF village called for a ceremonious celebration on 14th of October, drawing participation from top officials such as the Minister of Health, Ambassadors of major international donor countries such as Netherlands and Germany, representatives from international agencies such as UNICEF and WHO, United Nations Coordinator in Benin, all Zou Maires, all chiefs of villages and many other top functionaries from various localities in Benin.
“To date, Benin has 300 ODF localities and aims to achieve 700 ODF localities (159 villages) by the end of this year”, says UNICEF WASH specialist Mr. Mamadou Mochtar Balde. As one of the countries in West Africa lagging behind in meeting their MDG sanitation goals, with only 36 percent of the population having access to basic sanitation, more than 70 percent of the rural population defecate in the open. The country has seen some progress since the introduction of CLTS in 2009 (Nation-wide access was 14% in 2010 (25% urban and 5% rural)), however till this year there was no clearly structured mechanism to translate the national CLTS strategy into practice, thus slowing down the progress considerably.
A renewed thrust on CLTS was initiated by relevant stakeholders earlier this year, with a series of trainings and workshops conducted by Dr. Kamal Kar from CLTS Foundation to trigger high quality CLTS facilitation on the ground as well as facilitate institutional coordination for joint efforts among various government and institutional actors. All the committed actors working to end open defecation in Benin are confident that this recent success and celebration of the first certified ODF village will trigger many more similar examples in the months to come.
Glimpses from the event-
Guests at the event
Dr.Anne Vincent,Hon’ble Minister of Health Ms.D.A Kinde Gazard and Mr.A.H.Van Aggelen
Mr. George de Gooijer with a guest
Pictures shared by Mr. Mamadou Mochtar Balde
UNICEF WASH specialist, Benin
 World Health Organization; UNICEF. “Progress on Sanitation and Drinking Water. 2010 Update”