To mark 50 years of Tearfund, we’re sharing about 50 countries where we’ve worked, celebrating God’s provision and power to transform, and praying for each of these nations. This week we’re in Ivory Coast.
In 1960, 17 African states gained independence, including Ivory Coast. The country went on to experience more than three decades of stability until a series of events shook the nation – a shaking that only began to settle after the presidential election in 2010.
Tearfund’s work in Ivory Coast dates back to the 1980s and expanded in response to the conflicts, which brought with them desperate need and deep poverty.
While the government has grappled with a still volatile political situation, our partners are addressing the nation’s needs through a process known as church and community transformation – partnering with churches to release people’s God-given potential.
Our partners focus on a range of activities, but one of our aims is to improve sustainable access to safe water and basic sanitation for 90,000 people by 2021.
First class loos
One community that has been part of this vision is Yalo, a village of 39 households located in the northern region of Ivory Coast. Yalo has a primary school, but the school had no latrines for pupils.
‘Our village used to be a very dirty village,’ the village chief remembers. ‘School children were used to open air defecation and the school yard was polluted by the bad smell of human waste. Cases of diarrhoea were regularly reported as well as poor class attendance due to sickness.
‘But when [Tearfund partner] MAP started working with our village on hygiene, and especially on community-led total sanitation, we discovered that we could make a difference by improving the living conditions of our community as a whole as well as the learning conditions of our school children.’
Inspired, the community built eight latrines for the primary school – three for boys, three for girls and two for teachers.