ASHPP closes 2016 on a high note

Twelve months ago, ASHPP was celebrating 5 years of implementation with only 2 TAs declared ODF by the National Open Defecation Free Taskforce (NOTF). Today the number has more than doubled to 18 and is expected to grow significantly bigger within the next few months.

Over the year 2016, TAs Amidu, Chanthunya, Chilooko, Chiwalo, Kaduya, Kalembo, Malengachanzi, Mphonde, Mulilima, Mwalweni, Mwankhunikira and Salawali and Sub-TAs Kachenga, Matola, Phalula, and Toleza have been declared ODF by NOTF. Aggregated with TA Mwadzama and TA Chapinduka who became ODF in 2015 brings the tally to 18 out of 33 TAs.

Much as this unprecedented progress cannot strictly be attributed to 2016 work alone, it is still remarkable and demonstrates a new wave of progress marked by rapid achievement and elevated zeal of stakeholders.

But what exactly could be the reason? According to ASHPP Programme Manager, Mr. Mike Khoza, it all boils down to increased PCM activity in engaging with sector players including district stakeholders and providing them with necessary support and motivation for ODF status achievement.

“The ODF momentum has been growing since 2015 after government through the PCM and NOTF became more and more active pushing district stakeholders like District Coordinating Teams, and implementing partners to be on their feet and demonstrate tangible results.

“Previously, the sector lacked proper direction and leadership since the mandated National Sanitation and Hygiene Practices Coordination Unit (NSHCU) had not been very active. Since last year, however, the PCM have gone an extra mile to engage with district leaderships and sector players, and this is evidently bearing positive fruits,” said Mr. Khoza.

Increased activity of the PCM and stronger leadership in sanitation and hygiene work in the districts by the DCTs is one of the ideals inherent in ASHPP’s three pillar model currently being piloted in the programme. The resultant momentum has created a competitive environment among sector players with everyone wanting to stamp a mark of excellence.

Even chiefs are competing owing to the special recognition that successful chiefs are shown by government through the presentation of certificates.

The momentum that has followed has made the likelihood of the programme to achieve ODF status for three districts very high.

“Going by the current trend, there is a high likelihood for Nkhotakota and Balaka to attain ODF by June 2017 even though 1 of the 2 remaining TAs in Nkhotakota and the 2 remaining TAs in Balaka are not under GSF programme,” predicts Mr. Khoza.