Leading by Example: A Latrine Story

Judith Mbache, known as Mama Mkubwa (Big Mama) by the Maji Safi community, joined the Maji Safi in March 2012 in the first class of Community Water Workers (CWWs). Since then, Judith has been an integral part of the CWWs, by acting as a mentor to the younger ambassadors. She was instrumental in developing and implementing the After School Program and is now taking a lead role in the new Female Hygiene Program for Shirati girls.

Judith + Grandaughter

Judith and her granddaughter

My name is Judith Mbache. I was born on the June 19th, 1964 in Kabwana, Shirati. I have a form 2 secondary education from Kenya, and I attended nursing school for two years. I have 3 kids, a daughter and two sons. My children live far from Shirati, and I now live with my granddaughter named Judith who goes to Tai Secondary School, form 1.

Before joining the Maji Safi Group, I was a farmer and palliative care provider. Palliative care is a service provided to the severely ill in their homes. Examples of such diseases are cancer, sickle cell anemia, TB, HIV/AIDS, and diabetics.

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Judith working with Shirati children during Maji Safi’s After School Program

After joining the Maji Safi Group, I have gone through so many changes. Firstly, the school children refer to me as a teacher. Secondly, I am able to budget my money every month. Thirdly, I was enabled to build a permanent improved latrine. Earlier, I used to participate in open defecation. So now I am able to be among the people who conserve the environment and prevent fecal-oral infection and diseases like cholera, dysentery, chronic diarrhea, and worms.

Being able to own a toilet has brought me so much respect in my community. Guests come to my house, and I don’t feel shy, and I show them the bathroom straight away.

I would like to give thanks to the entire Maji Safi community for enabling me to change some of the things in my life. It has empowered me with education, and now I have a clearer understanding, and I know the importance of latrine use, and I now have my own toilet.

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Judith’s new latrine

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Judith’s house and latrine

Thank You.


Judith Mbache