by Moses Wakala (Nov.2010)
There have been construction technical failures from the early stages as a result of very high water table at the site. A number of repairs have been done on the Digester and Baffle Reactor as a result and this have had a negative impact on the main stake holder’s ownership of the project. The system is now connected to four toilets units serving the warders/ staff. A cow shed with three dairy animals is also connected to the digester with manual feeding unit. The main prison service line is diverted to the municipal treatment plant in town. The system is now operational in evaluation phase with gas being used on one burner (institutional size). The treated effluent is used on the farm as irrigation water and fertilizer for the vegetables and bananas. This treated effluent is first collected in the stabilizing tank that also contains fish before being used on farm.
The biggest challenge in this project in Meru Prison is the project ownership. This has been caused by the fact that the site have been repaired twice with minimal expectations achieved so far. It is one of the first such projects implemented in Kenya that did not realize the expected goals from the initial point.
Following the poor project ownership in the prison, an evaluation of the implementation procedure was evaluated. The material and capital input was the sole responsibility of the donor. Therefore it was taken like the project belonged to the donor and not the prison service. The functionality of the project depended on the effort of the donor. This was also seen during the time of monitoring when a small problem of sealing the neck and expansion chamber was kept waiting till the EPP expert was called to do it. It is therefore recommended that during future implementation of similar projects in such setups, proper engagement between the donor and the beneficiary should be initiated. This should include prior signing of the articles of understanding between the donor, beneficiary/ client and the contractor with proper definition of the responsibility of each party.
Trainings being the core component of ecological sanitation is supposed to be incorporated with construction. Change of staff or management has also affected project ownership and operations. Some successful projects visited have been left an attended due to change of initial leadership that existed during construction phase. It is therefore necessary to plan for post training activities to continually support good EcoSan works and capacity build the community from the existing good examples.
by Moses Wakala (Nov.2010)