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How a pair of old toilet seats led to a new village

A story of Local Response by Aniele from Le Pont du Tamarinier


One of my friends had decided to offer the seats from her old toilet to her housekeeper. The housekeeper answered, “What do you want me to do with those? I do not have toilets.” My friend came to me and asked me to go with her to see the place where the housekeeper lived because she said that none of her neighbours had any toilets either.

And there, we found a community that lived in small huts built of corrugated iron on land that was not theirs. They could not, in this case, improve their homes. Their living conditions were really difficult. Roofs that let through the rain etc.

After speaking to the people of this community, we realized that their dreams were to own a home. We then stimulated (without being aware of doing this at the time) so that they continued to believe that they would come to realize their dreams.

The first step was to contact the owner of the land. To our astonishment he said he was willing to offer the land to these people but did not know how to make this happen. From that day, we decided to be a bridge between the community and the owner.

The next stages were long but we met regularly with the community. We had (with them) developed a partnership with the government and also with some wealthy families that wanted to participate in this project. At least 4 of them accompanied us in meetings we had with the Finance Minister and even the Prime Minister. Finally after 5 years, a beautiful village was born.

We now have a beautiful community that has grown a lot. Some residents have added a floor an extra floor to their homes. Together we have been able to develop community spaces so that we can accompany them with the SALT approach.

When we brought people together, the barriers to progress disappeared.