Many communities in Africa are faced with serious environmental challenges including poor water and waste management, soil erosion, increasing desertification, and diseases caused by poor public hygiene. Our partner communities often lack basic sanitation facilities, creating a physical environment which puts the community members' health at risk.
Improving access to sanitation not only keeps the environment clean but also helps to prevent illnesses leading to diarrhea, one of the most common causes of children’s deaths in Africa. Likewise, removing stagnant water from the environment can help prevent malaria.
Our Community Empowerment Program (CEP) equips community members with the knowledge and skills to find creative and sustainable solutions to environmental problems. During the CEP, participants learn how diseases are transmitted and how this is linked to unhygienic practices that can pollute the environment. Our respectful and non-judgmental approach promotes community discussion about the environment. As a result, communities lead initiatives to make their environments more hygienic in order to protect the community’s health.
Many communities now hold weekly clean-ups, joining together to pick up garbage, clear grass, and rid their environment of standing water to create a clean and healthy living space. They also construct latrines to prevent the spread of illness and parasites, build more efficient wood-burning stoves, and construct covers for wells to protect the water from contaminants.
Through our Solar Power! Project, each solar engineer sponsored by Tostan installs one solar unit in at least 50 homes. The engineers train others in their communities to ensure the sustainability of the project.