Communicating better hygiene in rural Zambia through toilet construction: The case of the lesa chiefdom of Mpongwe district
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This report is entitled “Communicating better hygiene in rural Zambia, a case of Toilet Construction in Chief Lesa chiefdom of Mpongwe District”. The scourge of open defecation has reached alarming levels and calls for attention of all stake holders. Lack of access to improved sanitation contributes to a high prevalence of diarrhoea and other water- borne diseases. Further, poor sanitary health practices impact on malnutrition and low quality learning environments for millions of children in rural areas which results in high absenteeism as well as increased school dropout rates, especially for girls. The study aimed at investigating whether communication is a factor in constructing toilets and how communication culture can be used to fight the scourge. A snap shot survey design was adopted in this research; employing the triangulation approach to data collection and analysis. The qualitative data gathering methods included the review of secondary data on the topic as well as an in-depth interview with the Chief and a focus group discussion with 29 traditional counsellors. As regards the quantitative methods of data collection, there was a questionnaire which was administered to 70 members of the community. The research participants were chosen by purposive sampling. The quantitative data obtained from the field research was processed into tables and charts by means of Microsoft Word Excel. Findings of this study show that mass communication about hygiene practice was present in chief Lesa chiefdom as this was mentioned both in the focus group discussion and interview. Informants indicated that radio Chengelo and Chimwemwe have programs that focus on community development and sanitation. Knowledge and information is transmitted through call out, bill boards, mega phones community radios and during the traditional ceremonies. Messages transmitted include community led total sanitation and moral conduct such as attitude change as regards to toilet construction. Some people felt that it was not important to construct toilets; others feel lazy to build while others were not aware of the importance of using a toilet, hence a good number of subjects still do not have toilets, and they use the bush to answer the call of nature. The study recommended punishments to be instituted to the people who fail to build toilets. Chiefs to take an active part in facilitating and enhancing the issues of sanitation in the villages and work together with other stakeholders and the government to make sure that hygiene issues in their chiefdoms are observed by their subjects. More sanitation programs on the radio and TV stations across the country to make people‟s perception towards toilet uses to continue changing.
University of Zambia
Master of Communication for Development