Voluntary Savings and Lending activities bring an end to 22 years without access to proper household toilet

By Augustine Masomera and other FCTZ staff, July 2014

The mother of 3, 44 year old Mrs. Leticia Godzaimaoko stays in Village 5 of Domborutinhira in Mutasa district of Manicaland Province. Mrs. Godzaimaoko is blessed with a 15 year boy and a set of 9 year old twin girls.

She moved into the village in 1992 after being displaced by the construction of Osborn dam. The family used the bush system between 1992 and 1996 since they did not have resources to construct a proper toilet. “Our family dwellings were temporary structures hence a toilet was unnecessary luxury”, said Mrs. Godzaimaoko. Influx of people into the area partly because of displacements caused by the Osborn dam resulted in use of the bush system more difficult and shameful, reported the mother of 3. The family constructed a pit latrine whose walls collapsed in 2010. The family has been using the wall-less and almost filled up pit since then.

Mrs. Godzaimaoko who has been abandoned by her husband for more than 5 years, joined one of the Voluntary Savings and Lending (VSL) groups Kushinga, revived with support from the ‘Promoting Smallholder Market Engagement Project’ that is implemented by Farm Community Trust of Zimbabwe (FCTZ) and Zambuko Trust and managed by Practical Action through funding from Big Lottery Fund.

In February 2014 Mrs. Godzaimaoko asked the Village Health Worker to site a toilet on her homestead. She borrowed a total of $220 on two occasions from her VSL group ($70 and $150). She paid a total of $193 for the construction of the toilet that has a bathroom (digging $30, river sand $11, 5 bags of cement $75 including transport, 3 roofing sheets $27 and builder $60).

Mrs. L. Godzaimaoko, a VSL group member from Domborutinhira at her BVIP latrine built using money from VSL activities

“Besides reducing exposure to some diseases, and improved hygiene, the toilet has brought joy, raised my self esteem and dignity for the family”, Mrs. Godzaimaoko summed up.