Friday, April 19, 2024
SocietyToilet on the go

Toilet on the go

Once a proud driver, Yacob Ferede has become a modern day Good Samaritan, helping those in need with his humble invention – a mobile toilet.

Tired of seeing people with nowhere to relieve themselves, Yacob crafted a makeshift mobile toilet from wheels, wood and good intentions. Though crude by modern standards, this simple invention offers an immense dignity to those without access to sanitation.

Standing proudly beside his creation, Yacob declares with a smile, “I am saving lives.” The four-wheeled toilet allows men to urinate discreetly into a jerrycan while hidden curtains provide privacy for women users.

What Yacob’s toilet may lack in style, it more than makes up for in impact. As customers flock to this unexpected oasis, it is clear Yacob’s intervention fills a crucial need in his community.

“With compassion and creativity, even the smallest solutions can make a world of difference,” Yacob told The Reporter.

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In a city struggling with public sanitation, one man is doing what he can to help.

In Addis Ababa, access to toilets is limited, forcing many to relieve themselves in public. Open defecation is practiced by up to 30 percent of the population according to World Bank data, making Addis one of the most challenging cities in this regard.

For commuters and travelers, finding a restroom can be nearly impossible. Most have no choice but to pollute the environment through public urination – an act that carries little shame for men across Ethiopia, even in the cosmopolitan capital city.

Yet in the midst of this sanitation crisis, Yacob is providing a humble service with his mobile toilet. For a mere five birr (about 10 US cents), Yacob allows people a place to relieve themselves.

Yacob’s mobile toilet – though basic – offers a bright spot amidst the city’s wider lack of public restrooms. Standing in Meskel Square, where The Reporter met him, Yacob says he simply wants to help in a small way, providing an option for those in need.

While his contribution may seem insignificant, his mobile toilet demonstrates the power of meeting real community needs – even in the simplest of ways. In a city struggling with sanitation, a single mobile toilet driven by compassion can make a world of difference.

His customers are testimony.

“I rather pay five birr instead of publicly urinating,” said Ayehu Getahun, one of his customers around Mesqel Square. “That small amount of money gives me dignity and helps keep the city clean.”

Toilet on the go | The Reporter | #1 Latest Ethiopian News Today

Sanitation woes plague Ethiopia, with 60 percent of the population lacking access to basic facilities like toilets. Open defecation and poor hygiene practices lead to widespread disease and water contamination. Inadequate access to soap, water and health education compounds the problem, especially in rural areas. Public toilets are scarce, even in the capital city of Addis Ababa.

It was the death of a relative from kidney failure that inspired Yacob to start his mobile toilet service. “I wanted to do something to save lives,” he says.

Yacob’s mobile toilet is humble, but in a city where finding a public restroom can require traversing kilometers, it fills it is an essential need.

“It provides me an income, but more importantly, it gives me hope that I can help prevent even one more person from suffering the way my relative did,” Yacob says.

Merkato market offers a glimpse of the impact Yacob’s mobile toilet can make.

As Addis Ababa’s oldest and largest market, serving the city and beyond, Merkato’s sheer size and crowds highlight its lack of sanitation. Among thousands of stalls and shops, few public toilets exist.

For vendors and customers alike, relieving oneself often means begging use of a restaurant toilet – if one can be found at all. Thousands work for long hours with no sanitation facilities of their own, ignored by authorities who fail to enforce basic standards.

Into this sanitary void, Yacob’s humble invention arrives – a mobile toilet on wheels – available for a meager amount. The convenience and dignity it provides reveal itself in the grateful smiles of his customers.

“It comes at just the right time,” says a taxi driver who uses Yacob’s mobile toilet.

Here, among the bustling crowds and chaotic commerce of Merkato, Yacob’s intervention makes a tangible difference. It offers temporary – yet vital – relief to hardworking people left behind by the city’s lack of sanitation planning.

Yacob hopes his effort can be scaled up with support from those who care about the city and its people.

While his makeshift toilet – with wooden seat and jerry cans – provides crucial temporary relief, Yacob envisions a more sustainable solution.

“The city administration could buy proper ceramic toilets and allow me to build more mobile toilets,” he suggests. “That would encourage me to expand this service.”

With funding and partnership, Yacob hopes his model of innovation could grow from a single “moving toilet” into a fleet, bringing sanitation and dignity to thousands more left behind – scaling up what began as one man’s effort to “save lives” through bare-bones basics and hinting at transformative possibilities if decision makers take note and support such efforts.

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