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Meru GoK Ecosan Project

Name of Contractor GRANITE CONSTRUCTION CO TIME IN USE From May 2010 after Repairs
CONSULTANT Wakala Moses Contact email Wakala.gtz@gmail.com

Management contact Mr. Charles Mutembei Email mutembeicharles@gmail.com

Meru Water Company Mr Moses Njiiri

Objective and Motivation of Project
The objectives of the project were mainly
• Introduce the concept of on-site treatment and utilization of the treated waste in agriculture.
• To boost agricultural production thus increasing food security as a result of treated effluent reuse.
• Improve sanitation in prison
• Reduce the cost of firewood by use of biogas produced during anaerobic treatment.
The main motivation of the project was to increase access to good sanitation to all, as per the millennium development goal number 7.
Meru GK Prison is a government institution located in eastern province in Meru County and about 220 KM on Nairobi Isiolo road. It has over 1200 inmates and over 300 staff in the 15 hectare compound. The prison is on a sloping ground and is supplied with water from the Meru Water company. The prison management realized the potential of the ecological sanitation through a sensitization from the EPP staff. The prison has a big problem of high firewood consumption for cooking the prisoners’ meals. The prison had also high sewage treatment bills from the treatment plant. These issues combined made the prison management to look into possibilities of adopting new technology from ecosan. Initially all the waste generated from the prison was treated by the municipal sewer. The new technology aimed at treating all the waste in the digester and baffle reactor and reusing the treated effluent in the prison farm as irrigation water and fertilizer. The product of anaerobic decomposition, biogas, also called methane was to be used in the kitchen as source of energy.
Currently as on the date of visit, the digester is being fed by four toilets and the cowshed with two zero-grazed animals. There was no gas production as a result of leakage at the neck seal. This was an opportunity to train the prison officers on the sealing and daily maintenance of the treatment plant. All the treatment components from checking seemed to be working well.
Initially, all the waste from the male prison cells and kitchen was connected to the digester. The digester developed a structural failure and also an over-flow within fewer days than specified in design was noticed. These two reasons led to closure of the entire system and deviation of the main prison waste back to municipal sewer. It has been left like this for almost a half a year. On the visitation day, it was noticed that the service pipes laid earlier connecting the staff toilets and the digester had clogged with surface run-off mad. This must be opened during the re-connection.
It was also realized that one of the water-traps manholes near the kitchen was coved with soil completely and could not be established if it was in a working condition. This is an urgent maintenance duty to be done by the prison officers as the gas was to be used in the kitchen soon after sealing the neck.
The main challenge in the project is the excess water flowing non-stop from the cells toilets and kitchen. This water seems to be more than the design parameters and it pushes all the waste out of the treatment plant before the end of the design retention time. With this happening, the quality of the effluent is bad and thus causing pollution to the underground water.
I highly recommend a design to reduce the amount of water from the waste before it is discharged to the digester. This could mean that the shower water and any excess kitchen water can be separated before it flows out for treatment. The grey water and kitchen water could be treated in the aeration ponds in the prison while the rest to undergo anaerobic treatment.
The second water trap near the VIP toilet should be checked and all the soil removed on the cover. It could be important to raise the manhole walls to ensure its accessibility.
The blocked service pipes from staff line should be checked and all mad removed before connection to the digester again.
Meanwhile before other connections, it is better for the system to be tested as it is with 8 staff toilets connected and the cowshed. This will help the prison to establish the output and efficiency of the digester after the previous repairs.


Cowshed with two cows feeding the digester. Baffle Reactor in Meru GoK prison done by Ecosan Promotion Project
Note: All photos in the report are taken by M. Wakala during site visit (Consultant)


Monitoring and Post Evaluating EcoSans in Nyanza and Western provinces (Field work for Master Thesis research on Ecological Sanitation)

Last month EcoSans in rural schools (of EcoSan Promotion Project, EPP) were monitored and post evaluated in Nyanza and Western provinces in Kenya, by a Finnish master student Kirsikka and GIZ consultants Wycliffe and Moses. The purpose of this project is to do research on how these schools have been managing with operation and maintenance (O&M) of EcoSan toilets. Schools selected for this research are the ones managing well with O&M. Besides monitoring and evaluating the situation on the field, the purpose is to find out what are the main reasons for the good performance in these schools. And figure out if there are some particular issues that other schools, and also projects in the future, could learn from these well managing ones. Why are they managing so well, what factors are affecting to that? As known, one of the major challenges considering ecological sanitation is to create a sustainable operation and maintenance mechanism. How to succeed with that in schools, were challenges are e.g. the high population of toilet users and small children?

In Nyanza province altogether five schools were visited, four of them sponsored by GIZ and EcoSan promotion project: Kendu Muslim Secondary School, Kachan Primary School, Siany Mixed Secondary School and Radienia Primary School. One of the schools, Hope and Kindness, was self sponsored. All the schools were managing relatively well with their operation and maintenance. Toilets were correctly used by pupils and teachers, clean, there was no smell or flies and storing facilities were functioning. Urine and also dried and stored compost was utilized in the school farms! I was happy to see how people were dealing with ecological sanitation very positively and they consider it as a very important issue. Interviewed students were pleased to use EcoSans, as they are clean and not smelly. Idea of reusing urea and compost from the toilets as a fertilizer in the school gardens or farms was well accepted. All the pupils I talked with knew the benefits of this natural fertilizer and had accepted the reuse. 

In Western province schools were already closing for the Christmas holidays, so we managed to visit only some of them. Eldoret Educational Center was a very good example of well operating and maintaining schools! But, we also got one example of the opposite performance… Field observations and interviews in Western province will be continued in early January.

Ecological sanitation has been generally accepted very well in these schools and also in the communities around. Some of the schools had built more UDDTs after the EPP, and communities around were involved – which is one important factor. The schools are spreading the ”gospel of EcoSans” (as one head teacher put it) and some schools get visitors who just want to see and learn about ecological sanitation. Pupils would prefer this kind of toilets also in their home communities, and for sure are spreading the idea to their parents and relatives.

Now it’s time to work with the collected data and make some conclusions. I’ll get back to the topic later!



Posted by Carola Israel according to information provided by Wycliffe Osumba Ecosan Expert from Kenya (osumbawycliffe@yahoo.com). (10 February 2012)
Hope and Kindness is a self sponsored school located along Kendu Bay – Oyus Road in Rachuonyo South District, Homa Bay County. The school has a population of 180 children. The school is caring for orphans affected by HIV / AIDS pandemic. The school has both day and boarding facilities with some children residing in the school.

They were faced with the following problems:
l  Small piece of land
l  Smelly pit latrines
l  Breeding ground for flies and mosquitoes
l  Flooding during rainy season

The soil texture is mixed with some areas rocky and other areas having black cotton soil. The school management was looking for alternative sanitation option and they heard about ECOSAN UDDts and its advantages through awareness creation over the radio and through community awareness meetings.

The school's aim was to recover the nutrients from the units which in actual sense have a good impact on food production, nutrition and health.

They employed a Groundsman who was taking care of the UDDTs and the pit latrines which they are planning to demolish in future.

The units are clean and well maintained. The sanitary towel bin are collected and burnt in the rubbish pit. The end products are being used in the school garden.

l  Blockage of the urine pipe

l  Replacement of the waste pipe with another one of 1” diameter.



Posted by Carola Israel according to information provided by Wycliffe Osumba  Ecosan Expert from Kenya (osumbawycliffe@yahoo.com). (10 February 2012)

Kachan Primary School is a public school sponsored by the government. It is situated in Lower Nyakach Division with a population of 292 pupils.

The school had experienced problems like collapsing pit latrines, smelly pit latrines, rocky soil which made digging of pit latrines extremely difficult.

Through community mobilization and awareness creation, the community learnt more about ECOSAN UDDTs double chamber concept and accepted the technology. The school committee and the community developed interest and accepted the technology.

Before the actual implementation, training was conducted to both community, school committee, teachers and pupils at different levels. There was discussion with the beneficiaries on design and costing of the units which was 4 doors for girls and 2 doors for boys.
A memorandum of understanding was then signed and the school provided sand, ballast, murram, unskilled labour, water, round poles, shuttering timber and curing for their contribution as per the the memorandum of understanding. The EPP gave the rest of the materials plus skilled labour.

Roles and responsibilities in ownership and stainability was discussed before the actual implementation.

Post-construction training was conducted conducted to the students and teachers on the usage, maintenance, monitoring and repair.

The units were found to be clean and well maintained.

Current problems
l  Blockage of the urine pipe
Monitoring of the units becomes difficult because the pupils were eager to use them



Posted by Carola Israel according to information provided by Wycliffe Osumba Ecosan Expert from Kenya (osumbawycliffe@yahoo.com). (10 February 2012)

This is a government sponsored school located in Nyabondo, Upper Nyakach Division. It is a mixed secondary school with girls and boys. Majority of the people here are Christians. They practice small scale farming, small businesses and brick making as economic activities.

The school is strategically located to serve the children from the community around. They have a  feeding programme serving all the learners with lunch and breakfast.

The school has a population of 262 students, 10 teachers and 5 other staff members.

The UDDTs constructed were 4 doors; 2 doors for girls, 1 for boys and 1 for teachers. They are all in use and well maintained. They like UDDTs concept even though they few.

Reasons why they constructed the UDDTs
l  Collapsing pit latrines every year
l  Waterlogging of pit latrines during rainy seasons
l  Smelly pit latrines
l  Recovery of the nutrients
l  Permanent construction

Maintenance / Service
l  The school has employed a groundsman who is doing the maintenance every day and repair whenever there is need.
l  Sanitary towels are being burnt after collection from the bin
l  End product is being used in planting of tree seedlings
l  Orientation is being done to new staff and students on the usage of the UDDTs



Posted by Carola Israel according to information provided by Wycliffe Osumba Ecosan Expert from Kenya (osumbawycliffe@yahoo.com) (10 February 2012)

Kendu Muslim Secondary School is a government sponsored school located in Kendu Bay Town near Lake Victoria. The soil is mainly black cotton soil making the area unsuitable for digging of pit latrines.

Most of the people living here are Muslims and Christians. Their income levels are low owing to the prevailing poor economic condition thus poverty levels are very high.

The school is strategically located to serve the children from the community who are both Muslims and Christians. Even though it is a day school, they have a lunch programme serving all the learners.

Before the introduction of the UDDTs, the students were served by 4 pit latrines (2 for boys and 2 for girls). The condition of the pit latrines was poor with very pungent smell. They were also flooded during the rainy season thus providing a breeding ground for mosquitoes transmitting malaria.

Problems they were facing before the UDDTs
l  Collapsing of the pit latrines during rainy seasons
l  Flooding of the pit latrines during rainy seasons
l  Foul smell emanating from the pit latrines
l  Breeding ground for mosquitoes and flies
l  Inadequate water supply for basic hygiene

All the above were causing the environment not to be healthy

Before the construction, there was discussion with the beneficiaries on design and costing of the units which was 2 doors for girls and 2 doors for boys. Thereafter, training was conducted for teachers, board members, community members and students. The training was on Ecological Sanitation Concepts with other options. This was done by the EPP site manager.

A memorandum of understanding was then signed and the school provided sand, ballast, murram, unskilled labour, water, round poles, shuttering timber and curing for their contribution as per the the memorandum of understanding. The EPP gave the rest of the materials plus skilled labour.

The school was also responsible for maintenance, repair, cleaning and the use of the end product in the school farm.

The School Management Committee chose the UDDT chambers because of its advantages and demanded it because of its ling term investment.

Post-construction training was conducted conducted to the students and teachers on the usage, maintenance and repair.

Problems realized during the visits
l  Few units to accommodate the school population
l  Disposal of the sanitary towels because there was no changing room and some myths behind it.
l  Hand washing facility was not installed near the units due to insecurity.

l  Update training was conducted to both students and teachers to fill the missing gaps.


When sensitisation really matters...

The results of an ex-post evaluation of an EcoSan Promotion Project.


Posted by CecĂ­lia Rodrigues according to the GIZ Report produced by Doreen Mbalo and Kathrin Brand (31 July 2012).


Frequently failures on EcoSan projects are attributed to the users, their acceptance and their inability to use the facilities provided properly. This ex-post evaluation report reminds us that good community work can make a difference in project implementation and impacts directly on its results, including issues like acceptability and the sustainability of the sustainable sanitation practices.

The hard facts. The EcoSan Promotion Project (EPP) was developed from November 2006 to June 2010 in Kenya as a project component of the GIZ Water Sector Reform Program. The project with funding from the European Union, SIDA and GIZ, worked in close partnership with the Ministry of Water and Irrigation (Maji House). During the project, 804 double vault Urine Diverting Dehydrating Toilets (UDDTs) and 13 Decentralised Treatment Systems (DTS) were installed. 541 UDDTs were built in households and 263 in institutions. In total, there were 51,600 users. The project focused on rural household and school based sanitation but also implemented toilets on public places like bus stations and institutions like prisons. Many engineers, artisans and professional companies were trained in the sensitisation, planning and the construction of the EcoSan facilities.

Left: Double Vault UDDT. Right: Inside an UDDT.

The evaluation. During ten days in June 2012, two years after the project conclusion, 53 EcoSan facilities on a household level were visited. The visits took place in the clusters of Homabay, Kisumu, Chwele, Ugenya, Mumias, Siaya, Ugunja, Semenya and Ukwala in coordination with the local experts Wycliffe Osumba and Moses Wakala. Out of them, 38 toilets were being used and functioning well. The majority of the consulted users were satisfied with their facilities, especially with the application of the compost and collected urine in their farms, meaning that waste was acknowledged as a resource. The possibility of reuse of the faecal matter as well as the noted benefits of its usage turned out to be a further incentive for sharing the household’s facilities amongst neighbours. Furthermore, cleaner surrounding environment and shared maintenance of the facility were also mentioned as advantages. The complaints were mainly related to urine pipe blockages and termites attacking and damaging the wood material used in the construction of the vaults.

Inspecting the texture of the fertilisers in a dehydration vault.

Right section of the maize received fertilizer from UDDTs.

By comparing the evaluation of the visited toilets, in the cases in which the toilets demonstrated poor results a correspondence can be established with a poor quality of facilitation processes, such as little community mobilization and sensitisation, ownership building and follow up visits by the facilitator. Users were unaware of appropriate toilet use, there were no explanatory posters and they were poorly maintained, facts attributed to “a clear lack of sensitisation and public awareness creation”. Also, from the technical point of view, unfinished and badly constructed facilities demonstrated a need for monitoring and evaluation in all phases of the implementation process.

User inserted pipes in the dehydration chamber leading to an offset pit.

An  UDDT used as a pit latrine.

The conducted evaluation did not assess the facilities built in schools and other institutional settings. However there was a recent evaluation done by a Finish Master student with support by GIZ and local experts, which was posted on this forum here. The report also does not mention how the evaluated facilities were selected. Nonetheless the findings are still relevant. The report confirms the importance of not only building facilities, but also carrying on evaluations during project implementation as well as after its completion. Additionally, it reiterates the importance of software components in the projects: “in the areas where appropriate sensitisation and community mobilisation took place, there were no problems of misuse and acceptance.”

The complete report can be downloaded from SuSanA Library.





Open discussion forum helps to answer sanitation related questions

posted by C. Rieck (GIZ)
We know it all too well from our daily work: E-mails have nowadays become key to our highly interactive and interlinked working environment. But despite being a useful communication tool, it provides only a one-to-one or small group communication and does not allow sharing information to a wider group and to “outsiders”. Therefore valuable information such as reports, discussions, photos, technical drawings, posters and new ideas are locked up in private mailboxes and are not accessible to others. They cannot be found with search engines like Google. Also the sheer number of e-mails can be a burden and hindrance to actually discussing issues and to passing on information when people are looking for it.
One promising avenue is the use of discussion forums. The idea for an open discussion forum on sanitation came from our experience that when you want to buy a new car or have a question about your baby’s teeth: where do you get advice from? You put your question into a search engine like Google and you end up reading other people’s postings on a discussion forum. Usually, those questions and answers prove to be very helpful.
The same mechanism can hold true for a discussion forum on sanitation issues. This is why the secretariat of the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA) set up a new discussion forum and launched it in July 2011: www.forum.susana.org.
The forum is open as opposed to some existing closed forums which require a login even just for reading or are only e-mail based.
“An open forum is a clever and modern way to engage people in knowledge exchange and at the same time make the information easily accessible through search engines such as Google or Yahoo. This way not only the usual “sanitation crowd” but also outsiders can read and most importantly give their valuable input.” explains Dr. Elisabeth von Muench from the Sustainable Sanitation Program at GIZ, where the SuSanA secretariat is located. This secretariat work is carried out by GIZ on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

Screenshoot of on discussion post on peepoo bags in Kenya

The Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA) is an informal network of organisations and individuals who share a common vision on sustainable sanitation. SuSanA came into existence in early 2007 and works as a coordination platform, working platform, sounding board, contributor to the policy dialogue on sustainable sanitation and as a “catalyst”. The current number of partner organisations in the SuSanA network is 172 ranging from local NGOs, international NGOs, governmental or state-owned organisations, multilaterals, private sector, networks and associations to education and research institutions. A detailed partner mapping is available here: http://www.susana.org/lang-en/partners/susana-partner-mapping.

Here are four examples of very active discussion threads dealing with Kenya that might be interesting for the readers of this blog:


Evaluation on good practices in Ecosan schools in Western Kenya

Posted by Carola Israel according to information provided by Moses Wakala Ecosan Expert from Kenya (wakala.gtz@gmail.com). (02 February 2012)

The purpose of the contract was to select at least five schools that have Ecosan toilets. The schools must be using the facilities and the products in some way. The consultant was also to move around visiting the school with the Finnish Master student who was doing her field work in Ecological sanitation. A number of schools were selected in Western region that were presumed to be doing well. Some of the selected schools were privately funded while others were funded by GIZ, SIDA and EU in the ended Ecosan Promotion Project.
The consultant has gone ahead to identify new players in the field of ecological sanitation and documentation of good practices amongst all the visited sites. He has gone ahead to establish basic reasons why some schools begin well during the first use of the ecosan toilets and later on dump the whole idea of ecological sanitation to use of pit latrines. A number of reasons have been outlined in the report.

School selection
The consultant, being much aware of the task given, begun with the formulation of selection criteria to be used to find the site to be visited. This was done through physical site pre-visits and direct phone conversations to establish their availability for the interview and the status of the facilities to be visited. Some schools were however visited without prior notice due to schools closure and lack of contacts.
Actual work of monitoring was done together with the student by physical examination of the facilities and through interviews with filling of the already prepared questionnaire.

Upgrading of skills learned
During the site visits, the consultant observed how the beneficiary community was utilising the facilities. A number of gaps were identified in the usage and as a result, the consultant planned for refresher trainings on operation and maintenance. This was sometimes done instantly on the same day of visit, or was planned later.
The following schools were visited during the consultancy period:
1. Kakichuma R.C primary school GIZ funded ecosan toilets
2. Kitale Ndogo Primary school GIZ funded
3. Mumias Muslim Primary School GIZ Funded
4. Khaimba Primary School GIZ Funded
5. Eldoret Education Centre Private ownership
6. Chief Mutsembi Primary school Private
7. Hirumbi Primary School.

Kakichuma Primary School
This school is located in a rocky surrounding. The head-teacher who received the project funded by GIZ is still present. He is well motivated and this has been transferred to the whole school. Most of the pit latrines were shallow and could get filled up easily. They are now happy because they get urine fertilizer for their young tree seedlings planted around the compound. They are using the urine fertilizer on bananas within the school compound. The toilet is well maintained with no smell nor flies. This is their motivation.
Most of the ash is from the school kitchen. At times they send some pupils to bring ash from home. The whole sanitation is done by the health club, teacher on duty and the sanitation teacher. The school has done some repairs and painting of the toilets using the Repair and maintenance kitty from the government. Their biggest challenge is getting water for hand wash during the dry season.

Health Club members infront of the school ecosan toilet in Kakichuma Primary

The researcher with the head teacher, sanitation teacher and pupils in an interview
Mumias Muslim Primary school
The school is located in Mumias town with Muslims as major population. Two Ecosan toilets are used by teachers while two others used by the boys. The girls don’t have access to Ecosan toilets in this school.
The school has been using the urine on the school farm and it has produced good results as from the Head-teacher. The school’s main reason for doing well in hygiene is due to regular organised meetings by the sanitation teacher who also conducts trainings to new pupils at the beginning of every term. They have a constant supply of ash from the school kitchen and pupils bring the commodity once in a while when demand is high. We visited the school when it had just opened and many sections were not yet cleaned. The consultant found the toilet in use and some boys preferred Ecosan toilet to normal pit latrine due to its lack of smell.
It was also observed that the school had dug some pits to construct ordinary pit latrine because there was no squatting pan available and the ones available in the market are too expensive to purchase.

Front side of the staff toilet in Mumias Muslim Primary school.

Khaimba Primary school
This was the first school ever to be funded by GIZ in Ecosan toilet construction. The initial training on construction, usage and maintenance was done in this school by the Ecosan team in Kenya. The school has been doing so well in managing the toilets. This was brought about by the initial motivation of getting a resource from human waste which was otherwise useless from cultural beliefs. The pupils like using the toilets because of their odourless and safety.
The current status is slowly deteriorating due to new teachers coming who seems to have little knowledge on Ecosan toilets and as such little motivation to the pupils.

Inside the toilet in Khaimba Primary school showing ash, squatting pan and finished toilet paper.

Handwash facility at Khaimba Primary school

Kitale Ndogo Primary School
The consultant visited the school when it had just closed for December holiday. The school is located in a swampy area and during dry periods, it has high water table. This can be explicitly shown by the collapsing pit latrines. GIZ funded the construction of 4 units for pupils and the school has also sourced for funding from Regional development fund CDF, to construct additional four units. It was observed that the school has got general management problems that need to be addressed urgently. The consultant did the initial training to the school stakeholders and they begun well using the facilities. Blockages and general misuse is noticed in the Ecosan toilets in this school. But this may not seem an issue to the school as even the pit latrines are in a mess. The consultant has booked to address sanitation issues in school during the new semester.

Four Ecosan toilets funded by GIZ in Kitale Ndogo Primary
Inside the toilet at Kitale ndogo with blocked urine pipe due to ash spillage.

Eldoret Education Complex
The school is located in Eldoret town with a population of over 200 pupils and 20 workers. The only sanitation option in school is 4 Ecosan toilets and boys urinal. The school is funded from a church organization in Kenya. They learnt of this technology through the internet and then made contacts with the consultant for construction and user training. The school is enjoying to use the facilities and also doing more construction of similar toilets as the school is expanding. The toilets are cleaned by a trained caretaker employed by the school. She is responsible for daily cleaning, ash addition, removal of filled up urine containers and replacing toilet papers. She is the one who advices other grounds people on urine usage in the farm.
The first chambers of all the toilets are now full. Second chambers are being used at the moment. The school is using the urine in the vegetable farm mixed together with irrigation water. Many changes as a result of using the products can be seen in the school including health live fence and flowers fed by urine fertilizer. Many people have visited this school to learn about the technology.

Pupils in EEC visiting their Ecosan toilet with Hand-wash infront.
Inside of the toilet in EEC with ash container and instruction chart.
Urine store constructed by the school with urine containers. Urine is kept here for two weeks before it is used in farm for irrigation. Filled up Jericans are labelled when they are put in the store.
The consultant sampling the decomposed faecal matter to see its quality
Urine being mixed with irrigation water to be used in vegetable farm as fertilizer in drip irrigation.
Hirumbi Primary School
This school is located in the outskirts of Kakamega town. The school has just gotten funding from an organisation based in Austria for construction of Ecosan toilets. The main purpose of the visit ton the school was capacity building and making the school the hub of Ecosan technology in the area. The school planned for O & M training on this day with all the stakeholders invited. The Ministry of education emphasized on the need to follow instruction for anything to work well.
Topics covered were among others, use, maintenance, reuse of urine and decomposed faecal matter, advantages of Ecosan toilet and general hygiene like hand washing.
One of the Ecosan experts in Training at Hirumbi Primary school.

General Challenges for each school
The following were observed as general challenges in most of the Ecosan schools visited.
Regular blockage of the urine pipes by ash. Pressure on the existing few facilities as GIZ was only funding 4 doors. Lack of constant training in schools to the users leading to misuse. The squatting pans are not easily available for further construction.

  • Regular blockage of the urine pipes by ash.
  • Pressure on the existing few facilities as GIZ was only funding 4 doors.
  • Lack of constant training in schools to the users leading to misuse.
  • The squatting pans are not easily available for further construction.
A number of schools are now looking for different funding from different organization to construct their own toilets.
This was seen in Western Kenya in Kakamega where two three primary schools are now having the Ecosan toilets funded by other organization like CDF etc.
This was witnessed in three schools around Kakamega where the schools are soliciting funds from other sources to construct Ecosan toilets. Many private schools are currently making inquiry on how to have similar facilities. This means that many people in the community are now understanding the
economic importance of the technology. The cost of an Ecosan toilet has not been an excuse in the society looking at the long term benefits of Ecosan toilets. A simple pit latrine costs half the price of one Ecosan toilet in the surrounding.

School sanitation and public place sanitation is a big challenge to the community. This has been as a result of negligence and attitude from the users. Many people have good toilets at their homes but most public toilets are left un attended to all the times. This has been the case for so many years in the region. In schools, sanitation condition has always been depended on the school priorities. For example when the school administration values hygiene, then the school toilets will be well maintained. Ecosan toilets have been said to be difficult to maintain in public schools especially where small kids are using the facilities. This is as a result of constant blockages of urine pipes with ash. Good Ecosan working schools have put a caretaker to be in charge of the facilities. This person is responsible for day to day maintenance of the toilets at a fee. Public Ecosanitation is therefore only possible when there is somebody in charge. The same caretaker is in charge of regular training of the users on proper usage.

The school routine should emphasize on good hygiene in the school. This topic of sanitation has been put on some well performing Ecosan schools as a lesson taught every week in classes. This is a constant reminder to the pupils of proper toilet usage and care. It has also been extended to the environmental/ Sanitation/ Health clubs which also offers similar topics in their meetings.

Some schools had a good start-up in Ecosan toilet use and good practices were late noticed after some tome. This was noted in the region as some schools expected to be doing well had deteriorated to poor hygiene standards. It was observed that it was due to change of the responsible teachers who received the projects. The new teachers may not be well motivated about the project and or at times with poor knowledge on the O & M in Ecosan facilities.

Future GIZ intervention should major most in trainings and capacity building. This should be done together will all the stakeholders so that there is no time there is technology vacuum in the schools or community. The
education ministry can also promote this type of sanitation in all the schools that needs it. This may include flooding regions, rocky areas, unstable soil area and areas with high water table or limited space for toilet construction. This has been done in some private schools that are rushing now to acquire the plastic squatting pan. GIZ will come in handy to try and avil this squatting pan in large supply. At the moment, it is the only challenge among the schools that are turning to Ecosan.


Update on Engineers Without Borders in Ukunda: Construction of school UDDTs completed

Posted by Leonie Kappauf according to information provided by Stefan Miethig from Engineers Without Borders (stefan.miethig@gmx.de). (24 January 2011)

The school sanitation project in the DARAD education centre in Ukunda (see blog entry by Julia Seitz from March 2011) is now completed. Engineers Without Borders Germany (regional division Aachen) have facilitated the construction of a school toilet block with separate facilities for girls (4 urine diversion dehydration toilets (UDDTs)) and boys (three urinals and three UDDTs) as well as one barrier-free toilet (single vault Wonderloo) for persons with special needs.

The toilets are maintained by school staff. Staff members and the newly formed students' "Health Club" share the responsibility of explaining new students and guests how to properly use the new toilets. Water for the handwashing facilities is provided by a rainwater harvesting system.

School toilet with rainwater harvesting tanks

The construction phase was challenging and EWB will use the lessons learned for the design of future projects. Main challenges have been: (i) low quality of available building materials which made adaptations of the design necessary, (ii) delayed by construction permits. As a result the construction period turned out to be longer than expected which caused higher costs for the repayment of the loan. In addition the costs were increased by unexpected costs for required permissions. The relatively high costs might be one factor that discouraged the local population and local NGOs to replicate the toilet design so far. To overcome this challenge and promote the adaptation of safe toilet facilities EWB is now planning to revisit the project site and to build a low-cost demonstration toilet. Building such a demonstration toilet  as was also included in the original project plans but the realization had to be postponed due to time constraints.

Training of school staff

Despite the initial challenges Engineers without Borders have received very positive feedback from the students and teachers. Students of the new formed "Young Farmers Club" are now using the urine as fertilizer in the school gardens. The club members also exchange experiences with the local office of the Ministry of Agriculture in Likoni and have learned about “balcony farming”. In January 2012 the dried faeces from the chambers were removed for the first time and brought to nearby farmers.
Gardening activities in the school

Engineers without Borders wishes to thank the GIZ ecosan team for their support with getting the required permissions and training the school staff. Special thanks goes to Wycliffe Osumba, Paul Patrick Onyango and Christian Rieck.

For more photos of the project please visit:


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