162 communities in Bafatá have abandoned open defecation through the intervention of ASPAAB (Asociación de Saneamiento Básico, Protección de Agua y Medio Ambiente).

Guinea-Bissau has set out to end this harmful practice in order to improve access to drinking water and electricity. Worldwide, 2 billion people lack sanitation and 673 million relieve themselves in the open. In the case of Guinea-Bissau (1.9 million inhabitants), 10.6% of the population has this problem. The percentage rises to 16.2% in rural areas. 

In addition to the lack of sanitation, there is the deprivation of safe water: 33.% of the population of Guinea-Bissau does not have access; a rate that rises to 44.6% in non-urban areas of the country. Mussa Sanha and the other workers of the local NGO ASPAAB are fighting against these statistics. With the support of the European Union, and in collaboration with other international organizations such as ADPPD (Humana) and Portugal’s TESE, they have nine million euros for a water, sanitation and energy project.

Contaminated food and water, due to lack of sanitation, safe water and hygiene, cause continuous diarrhea that can lead to chronic malnutrition or stunting. In the worst cases, acute episodes of diarrhea can lead to death, so ensuring access to safe water and adequate sanitation is considered a health intervention.

In the east of Guinea-Bissau, there is Cansantin. In this village, the majority of the population used to practice open defecation, until, through the intermediation of the local NGO ASPAAB, the villagers started to build latrines in their homes. 

“These families did not have latrines and defecated in the open. The rain filters these feces and contaminates the water wells. This results in cases of diarrhea, typhoid fever and stomach aches.” The feces also attract insects, mainly flies, vectors of disease. “We are trying to raise awareness in the communities to change behaviors because they are eating each other’s feces,” explains Mussa Sanha during a follow-up visit.

Mussa Sanha was a mathematics teacher until he had to give up teaching to devote himself full-time to the NGO he created to improve access to water and sanitation in his region (Bafatá, Eastern Guinea-Bissau). It has taken years to gain recognition from international organizations, but today they have a headquarters and have been entrusted with the task of studying the availability of water and sanitation in schools in the area in order to propose solutions.

Aulé Quandi, a 25-year-old mother of two, has dug her own toilet and has another one going “for visitors”. She is doing it herself because her husband is too old and cannot. “I don’t study anymore,” she laments. “But it feels good to be part of the sanitation group and talk to the community. It’s good to have important visitors coming and it helps us convince them that latrines are necessary.” 

Source: https://elpais.com/elpais/2021/09/27/album/1632761295_534037.html#foto_gal_2 

From Fregata Space we have made an analysis of the area thanks to our satellite images and the application of certain algorithms. 

In the first image we can see how the Guinea-Bissau area is in true color filter observing the poor water quality available to the situation in which they are, while in the second case, we apply the turbidity filter in order to confirm the water quality, indicating the degree to which the water loses its transparency due to the presence of suspended particles. The more suspended solids in the water, the dirtier the water will appear to be and the higher the turbidity. 

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