The first public toilet facility in Weasua was completed in March 2022 with the support of the Japan Fund for Global Environment (JFGE). The direct beneficiaries of the toilet project contributed to the project as well. They collected locally available resources such as sand, water, and bricks, and provided labor.
The facility is used by 21 households in one part of the community originally called “Slipway,’’ popularly known as ‘‘Poo-Poo Creek.’’ The residents call it so because most people used the nearby creek for defecation prior to the construction of the public toilet. Following the construction of the public toilet facility, the community residents have been using it and they are saying the project is worthy and timely.
We interviewed some direct beneficiaries how they feel about using the toilet.
Annie, the caretaker
I am really enjoying the opportunity to have the facility in my community. Before this toilet was constructed, this community used to really smell bad, because some of the community residents used to defecate uncontrollably near where we live. We never used to eat our food in peace because of the bad smells. As for me, I used to defecate in the Wea-gbennie River which is about 0.5km distance from my house; it was really hard and embarrassing for me.
I am the caretaker of this toilet facility. I feel very good and happy working in this position because I want to make sure the toilet is properly maintained. I don’t want to go back to the days when the community used to be very messy and smelled bad. I am also in charge of collecting LD* 100/month/household as a maintenance fee. The collection of this fund is challenging as some of the toilet users are reneging on the payment; however, I am not giving up on the task as every user must pay the fees so that we can keep the toilet properly used and maintained.
*LD (Liberian Dollar): USD1=LD150 as of February 2023
I feel very happy because I suffered a lot from the lack of public toilet facilities in this community. People used to use my backyard overnight for defecation so I used to smell it even in my house. I talked and complained about the issue many times but no one cared to listen to me.
Such was the situation I was in before DFP came in to build this toilet.
This is why I voluntarily gave a pad of sand I had kept for my house project to be used for the toilet project.
Before this toilet was brought here, I used to cross the swamp to defecate in the bush however crossing the swamp especially during the rainy season was challenging.
But now as this toilet is built in this community, I don’t have to cross the swamp anymore for defecation and people also no longer use my backyard for defecation. This part of the community looks and smells good.
Everyone is now breathing fresh air, and I must admit, everyone should be very happy for the presence of this toilet facility.
I have lived in this Weasua Town for the past 5 years. Since I came here, I never saw a public toilet facility anywhere in this town except for this one that DFP has constructed.
Before the toilet was built, the community was very bad. It used to be messed up, and we could see human feces all over the place. As for me, I used to go down the river during the day time to defecate, and during the night I used to defecate in plastic and then throw it away in the swamp near the community. This is what it used to be like for me and my family, it was shameful and really embarrassing, but there was no other option.
Since the construction of this public toilet in my community, all these have stopped; no more defecating in plastic, in the open field and near houses, and the community now smells good and looks good.
For this, I feel very happy and I am so much grateful to DFP and the partner for their goodwill.
The residents testify enjoying the toilet facility because it has brought relief to them. Although open defecation is still being practiced in other parts of Weasua community, it has decreased drastically in the Poo-Poo Creek side of the community because of the constructed public toilet. Currently, DFP is supporting the construction of the second public toilet at the request of the community for the purpose of reducing open defecation and improving the hygiene and environment of the community. DFP also continues to support the community to collect the fees and be able to properly manage the toilet.
Front photo: View of the constructed toilet facility as of October 2022 © Diamonds for Peace