A desperate and largely unknown humanitarian crisis is deteriorating in the Lake Chad Basin region of West Africa, forcing millions of people to flee their homes and leaving millions more in need of humanitarian assistance. Oxfam is providing life-saving support but help is urgently needed to prevent the crisis turning into a catastrophe.
Chief Kandala has been a traditional leader for more than 10 years in Mabumbu chiefdom. The chiefdom is one area where people saw open defecation as an acceptable practice.
Chief Kandala was trained in Community Led Total Sanitation, a practice to help people improve sanitation. Oxfam purposely worked with the traditional leaders as ‘change agents’ because of the power and influence they have over their communities.
Chief Kandala is optimistic that his new skills will help him improve his chiefdom’s sanitation, like that of Chief Macha’s in Southern Province. Quoting him he says in Lozi, the local language, “Nika lika katata ku etelela musesbezi o wa makete kuli mupuzo wana winile Chief Macha utahe Kwa bulozi” meaning “I pledge to work hard towards attaining the Open defecation free (ODF) status so that I bring the Sanitation Award Chief Macha achieved to our chiefdom.”
Oxfam is eager to support such optimism while also helping the chief face challenges such as seasonal availability of local materials for building latrines and deeply entrenched culture practices. The chief is eager to use his power and influence. He says that as a traditional leader he is regarded as a father and he will motivate his people to achieve the goal.
As part of the WASH program, Oxfam is working in the Western Province of Zambia to provide access to water and sanitation.