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NWTF, Cauayan partner up for sanitation initiative

NWTF, Cauayan LGU, USAID Safe Water, and OBA-BF Project Beneficiaries during Cauayan Environmental Health and Sanitation Program launching on November 25 in Brgy. Man-uling, Cauayan, Negros Occidental*

From last year’s partnership for education that helped Caliling National High School set up its own 3D printing laboratory and Point-to-Point (PtP) internet connectivity, Negros Women for Tomorrow Foundation and the Local Government of Cauayan became partners anew for a sanitation initiative aimed to eliminate open defecation in the province.

Forty households in Cauayan were beneficiaries of the Output-Based Aid – Blended Finance program of the NWTF, the Municipality of Cauayan, USAID Safe Water and the Province of Negros Occidental.

Through the program, beneficiaries were provided grants by the Cauayan LGU to support the construction of each of the household’s septic tanks. NWTF, on the other hand, offered financial support through loans under its Water Access, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) program. The loans were used to help finance the respective toilet structures of the beneficiaries.

“It has been our dream to have our own toilet but we did not have the funds to construct one,”’ said Jartie, one of the beneficiaries of the blended finance program.

“We are extremely thankful that we were able to now have a restroom for our daily needs. This is not just for us but also for our children, so that they won’t have a hard time later on,” she added.

Lorena, also a beneficiary of the project said, “it was difficult for us before, we had to use other people’s toilets, or wherever possible sometimes even under the coconut trees. But now, we have our own toilet that we can use comfortably.”

NWTF and USAID Safe Water representatives*

This program is part of NWTF’s commitment to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), particularly on Water Access, Sanitation, and Hygiene. For NWTF, this goal will only be possible by working together with other people, organizations, and institutions.

“Partnerships are really the way to do things in this century. Even the Sustainable Development Goals recognize partnerships as an important way of doing things,” NWTF Assistant Director for Administration and Strategic Projects Raymond Serios said in their press release, stressing the integral role of collaborations in making this project a success.

Cauayan Mayor John Rey Tabujara shared the same view on the importance of partnerships and collaborations, noting that the beneficiaries have a part to play in this.

He added, “the LGU, Barangay, and the beneficiaries themselves, must stay committed and determined to make this project a success, and likewise contribute to the Zero Open Defecation (ZOD) program of the national government.”

The blended finance program came just in time as cholera cases are starting to become widespread not only in Negros but across the country. This year, the DOH has recorded more than 4,000 cases from January 1 to November 2, 2022. A 254 percent increase from the same period last year.

Meanwhile, the Asian Development Bank released data which shows that without access to improved sanitation facilities and awareness, the risks of infections or other illnesses from fecal sludge or wastewater are extremely high.

In addition to this, going by the current statistics, around 50.3 million Filipinos do not have access to safely managed sanitation services, and of these, some 24 million use limited/unimproved toilets or none at all.

Now more than ever, the celebration of World Toilet Day rings more meaningfully; with the World Health Organization (WHO) stressing that everyone should care about toilets because it is crucial for public health and poor sanitation can lead to transmission of infectious diseases.

NWTF and its partners acknowledge the severity of the prevailing problems in sanitation and commit to maintaining their efforts to help resolve this problem.

“Our dream is to eliminate open defecation in the country, making sure that we have toilets for every household in the country that are sanitation grade,” Serios said.

“We do this not only because we care for the wellbeing of the families, but also to make sure that we take care of the environment and the entire ecosystem,” he added.

NWTF extends its invitation to other LGUs, and other sectors of society to come and join them in this advocacy for a cleaner and healthier tomorrow by bringing toilets to every home.

Since 2014, NWTF, along with its partner organizations, has helped over 1 million lives through its WASH loans.*

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