Culturally safe toilets improve health and wellbeing in the Kwaio Mountains

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

...........Toileting is a sensitive topic among tribal groups living in Kwiao Mountain conservation areas. Each village has communal toilet areas, one for men and one for women. If cultural rules about toileting are not followed, people believe the ancestral spirits will become angry and make the family sick.

In mid-2020, Baru Conservation Alliance (BCA) and Atofi Health Research Group members Chief Esau Kekeubata, Tommy Esau, and Dorothy Esau, consulted with tribal chiefs and traditional landowners about the importance of water and sanitation for healthy living. These discussions led to the development of sustainable and culturally-safe solutions for drinking and sanitation needs.

From July to December 2020, BCA supported local rangers to build 10 toilets: one each for men and women at Kwainaa’isi Cultural Centre; one each for men and women at Fulanitofe; and three each for men and women at Kafarumu. Two toilets are under construction at Aifasu.

This new model of toilet, locally designed and constructed from timber sourced from the local forest, is the first of its kind in the Kwaio Mountains. Building these toilets is a breakthrough in Kwaio history and provides a prototype for village sanitation.

Many families who have used these new toilets now want to build their own toilet, because it is safe from both a health and cultural perspective.

For further information, contact Tommy Esau
Baru Conservation Alliance Facebook page: