Japan Supports Govt’s Effort to Tackle Open Defecation in Cities

ADDIS ABABA – The Japanese Government has handed over to the Government of Ethiopia 165,000 SATO pans worth nearly US1 million donated by LIXIL Corporation, a Japanese company.

The SATO pans were handed over by Taye Eyerusalem, LIXIL Addis Ababa Representative, to Getachew Bedane, acting State Minister of Labour and Social affairs (MoLSA), who is among Urban Productive Safely Net Program (UPSNP) managers.

The handing over ceremony was attended by Ito Takako, Ambassador of Japan to Ethiopia, and Adele Khodr, UNICEF Ethiopia Representative.

SATO is a toilet pan which uses a mechanical water seal to close off pit latrines from the open air, and reduces odours and disease transmission from insects that come into contact with human waste.

Safe toilet, alongside good hand hygiene, are critical in times of the COVID- 19 pandemic, Unicef says, adding that the SATO pan will enhance sanitation services to stressed communities, thereby reducing their vulnerability to disease outbreaks.

The 165,000 sets of SATO Pans is part of the Japanese Government’s grant aid of over US$ 4 million given to Ethiopia through UNICEF to reduce human-to-human transmission of the coronavirus, said Ito Takako, Ambassador of Japan to Ethiopia, at the hand over event on Tuesday.

The SATO pans is expected to be distributed to the most vulnerable beneficiaries in the UPSN Program.

“The COVID-19 pandemic can truly be described as a ‘human crisis’. We need to focus on the protection and empowerment of each individual so that the most vulnerable will not be left behind,” Ambassador Ito said.

Unicef considers the contribution as a strong support to the sanitation or Open Defecation Free ‘Tsedu’ Campaign which was launched in Ethiopia in November 2019 by the government.

“Although Ethiopia has made progress in improving sanitation, it is crucial that we reinforce our efforts in addressing sanitation in urban areas if Ethiopia is to meet the sustainable development goals by ensuring that basic toilets are built for every household,” said Adele Khodr, UNICEF Representative in Ethiopia.

“This ambitious goal also requires empowering all kebeles in every part of the country to end open defecation, a practice that contributes to a high incidence of diarrhea in children,” Khodr added.

As part of UNICEF’s support to the Government of Ethiopia in the COVID-19 response, hygiene and sanitation support is being provided to beneficiaries of the UPSNP.

Earlier in the pandemic, soap was distributed to all UPSNP participants and this support has now been scaled up to include sanitation, according to Unicef.

Due to the increased risk of disease transmission in densely populated areas, and the highly vulnerable nature of many UPSNP recipients, this response is seen as a front-line prevention intervention.

Following a rapid Sanitation Survey involving 165,000 UPSNP recipients conducted between October and November 2020 in 10 Ethiopian cities, 78,000 households were initially identified as requiring immediate toilet upgrading using the SATO pan, 68 per cent of which are in Addis Ababa.

Currently, training of masons is being conducted by the NGO PSI with support from TVET centers and installation of latrines is ongoing and planned to be finalized by end of March 2021 with the support of the Government of Japan.

The total number of beneficiaries of the SATO pans is expected to be 750,000, according to Unicef.