No toilet, No food aid

Hunger-stricken households that do not have proper latrines in the area of Senior Traditional Authority Chikumbu in Mulanje are at risk of not benefiting from food aid that government and Non-governmental Organizations are yet to distribute in the district, should they delay construction of toilets at their homes.

Senior Chief Chikumbu issued the threat Sunday during World Toilet Day commemorations held in Group Village Head Manyangala’s area.

According to the traditional leader, it would not be reasonable for government and NGOs to be giving free food to households that do not want to contribute to national development through the improvement of hygiene and sanitation in the district.

“When you give someone food and they eat, they will definitely want to defecate at a certain time of the day; so where such a person does not have a toilet the end result is open defecation; a thing that I am discouraging in my villages, so I am warning all of you to quickly construct toilets so that you can receive the free food or you will face the music,” the Senior Chief emphasized.

A recent survey conducted in the Senior Chief’s area by Plan International revealed that out of the 146 Villages under the Chieftaincy only 18 had 100 percent latrine coverage.

Commenting on the Senior Chief’s declaration, Group Village Headman Manyangala commended the idea, saying it would sound government’s commitment towards overcoming open defecation in the country.

He said much as government and Non-governmental Organizations played their roles actively in advising people to quit open defecation, some people simply do not take the messages seriously, hence the need for such harsh but helpful measure to be implemented.

Mulanje, like many other districts in the country was hit by floods and persistent droughts during the past rain season, a scenario that led to poor harvests, exposing many people in the district to hunger.

Meanwhile, Non-governmental Organizations such as the Adventist Relief and Development Agency (ADRA) Malawi are yet to begin food distributions aimed at minimizing the effects of hunger in the district.

Source: Malawi News Agency – MANA.