Archive for the ‘ecosan’ Category

Toilet Revolution: Shyama V. Ramani at TEDxMaastricht

Mon, 16Sep2013 Comments off

This is one of the best Sanitation/ Global Health stories we have seen lately. Delivered in a  very pleasurable consumable format, by a great speaker who make the topic reachable to a board spectrum of professionals and people. It’s antidotal in nature, while being universal in the realities of solving a village’s sanitation issues. Shyama has an honesty that needs to be incorporated into the newly developing transparency practices oft the world’s NGOs . This talk needs to be shown to the NGO’s and their altruistic “minions” before they venture out to help their global brothers and sisters.

The story starts out after audience imagining life with out toilets with Shyama explaining how she as pure novice, walks into a coastal village after a tsunami, and realizes she must bring the villages toilets back.

She learns along the way  “…2.4 billion people don’t even have access to a toilet that functions, 1 billion don’t have access to any toilet the just have to defecate anywhere they can …” Thus the “….lack of waste management and toilets is making a killer that we are not talking about enough … diarrhea…. the number one killer in most developing countries…”

She Googles and contacts “experts” to educates herself with the facts to get the job done  or so she thinks.

Upon the last new toilet being being initiated with a squat of a villager behind closed doors, Shyama, unlike many of the NGO’s, does not walked away.  The core of her captivating story is what happens afterward … The door is opened, the veil of naivety is exposed and lifted. Where/when most project fall into failure, she and her partner begins the long diagnostic/prognostic/improvement cycle.

Shyama  reminds us it is a an effort that is ongoing with more to learn and invites us to come back… It will be a crime if we do not see the next installment of this story as it continues to unfold.

Essential and very practical points abound within her story. One that are be showing up in other stories from around the world- and  hopepfully becoming a  din that must be addressed. With some paraphrasing, here are a few I see tucked in her tail:
1 NGO’s can’t do it alone and succeed; the villagers are needed – with a vastly redefined roll for NGOs.
2 Technical experts/ engineers may not be the social experts – both are needed.
3 Toilets at the onset are not alway seen as valuable/desirable assets. Education is needed before during and after
4 Women and men of the villages do not have the same perspective on sanitation. The project must address both separately as well as together .
5 Villages without ongoing support services will quickly have “…fossils of abandoned stinking toilets allover…”
6 Schools as an institution do not just naturally promote and desire ecosan toilets. They must also be nurtured. (details not addressed in this piece – but would be important to learn more about)
7 Building heathy social stimulus/pressure/ pride must be part of the scope
8 People who want the toilet must be educated on use and care
9 The villagers must be part of the economic model – the social model. Such pieces as manufacturing / construction/ distribution/ sales/ support / education/ promotion/ etc
10 Microfinance is a viable solution – (a work in progress in the story)
11 Toilets can provide a financially valuable natural resource – fertilizer
12 This all makes it a slower road, but it is a viable road, unlike the fast road the many NGO’s are building.
13 100% may be the target but  80% is a not a bad number to start with- and even that require lots of work.

Shyama  reminds us it’s a an effort that is ongoing and invites us to come back ,so to speak.  It will be a crime if we do not see the next installment of this story as it continues to unfold.



half-a-dozen(+) Sanitation infographics – WATSAN /WASH

Fri, 14Jun2013 Comments off

Here are a half-a-dozen…well 3/4 of a dozen  infographics  on WATSAN/WASH/sanitation

There are more on our Pinterest WATSAN board 

 Raising Awareness about Proper Sanitation

World toilet day poster – UNICEF
Site: Facebook page:

From – “Water and Women (and Girls!)”


Reinvent the Toilet (original Gates Foundation link of image not available)
Gates Foundation WASH Site:

Breaking the Taboo of the Loo

From The World Poverty Project : Breaking the Taboo of the Loo

 Access to water and sanitation

From – Access to water and sanitation

From’s Field guide to toilets

What Your Poop and Pee Are Telling You About Your Body
Possible origins of graphic :

From From head to toe: anatomy of a girl’s health

Putting Poop In Its Place: The Problems With Bad Global Sanitation


What’s a Toilet Worth? by World Bank & The Water and Sanitation Program (WSP)


SuSanA Releases Compilation of 13 factsheets on key sustainable sanitation topics

Thu, 10May2012 Comments off

From SuSanA web page:


  1. Capacity development for sustainable sanitation
  2. Financial and economic analysis
  3. Links between sanitation, climate change and renewable energies
  4. Sanitation systems and technology options
  5. Productive sanitation and the link to food security
  6. Planning of sustainable sanitation for cities
  7. Sustainable sanitation for schools
  8. Integrating a gender perspective in sustainable sanitation
  9. Sustainable sanitation for emergencies and reconstruction situations
  10. Sanitation as a business
  11. Public awareness raising and sanitation marketing
  12. Operation and maintenance of sustainable sanitation systems
  13. Sustainable sanitation and groundwater protection

The  document is available as a single 116 page  pdf   or  two pdfs breaking the dock in half.  

It is filled with hot links to a wealth of reference material. This alone will make the document invaluable. All urls are written out so links retain their value in a paper copy.

The list of contributors is is huge. A nice thing is the main authors  provide hot email links  at the end of each of the 13 sections so you can easily contact them. 

The  only problem with such a beautiful document is there is no traditional table of contents or index.  


Executive summary from  the pdf

“The target audience for this document includes a wide range of readers who are interested in aspects of sustainable sanitation and their links with other environmental and development topics. Possible readers include practitioners, programme managers, engineers, students, researchers, lecturers, journalists, local government staff members, policy makers and their advisers or entrepreneurs. The emphasis of this document is on developing countries and countries in transition.

The Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA) is a loose, informal network of organisations such as NGOs, private companies, governmental and research institutions as well as multilateral organisations that aim to contribute towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by promoting sustainable sanitation.

Sanitation generally refers to the provision of facilities and services for the safe disposal of human excreta and domestic wastewater. Personal hygiene practices like hand washing with soap are also part of sanitation. Sanitation also includes solid waste management and drainage but these two aspects are not the focus of this publication. In order for a sanitation system to be sustainable, it has to be economically viable, socially acceptable, technically and institutionally appropriate, and protect the environment and natural resources.

SuSanA contributes to the policy dialogue towards sustainable sanitation through its resource materials and a lively debate amongst the members during meetings, in the working groups, bilaterally, through joint publications and via various communication tools like the open online discussion forum. This publication showcases the broad knowledge base and state of discussions on relevant topics of sustainable
sanitation. All of the working groups have published one or two factsheets providing a broad guidance relating to their specific thematic area.

The 11 working groups of SuSanA have the following titles:
WG 1 Capacity development
WG 2 Finance and economics
WG 3 Renewable energies and climate change
WG 4 Sanitation systems, technology, hygiene and health
WG 5 Food security and productive sanitation systems
WG 6 Sustainable sanitation for cities and planning
WG 7 Community, rural and schools (with gender and social aspects)
WG 8 Emergency and reconstruction situations
WG 9 Sanitation as a business and public awareness
WG 10 Operation and maintenance
WG 11 Groundwater protection

Due to the inter-relationships between the working groups, the factsheets are inter-related and where appropriate, are cross-referenced. The factsheets relate to different parts of the “sanitation chain”, which consists of user interface, conveyance, collection/storage, treatment, reuse or disposal. We have attempted to visualise the linkages between the different working groups and the sanitation chain in the following schematic. There are some working groups which are dealing with overarching themes and these have been placed inthe centre of the schematic.”


new study: Social Factors Impacting Use of EcoSan in Rural Indonesia

Mon, 27Sep2010 1 comment

The  Social Factors Impacting Use of EcoSan in Rural Indonesia report came out in June 2010.

The Study Starts of stating the fact that “Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) 2010 data indicate that around 38% of the rural population has access to improved sanitation services and that open defecation remains a widespread practice for over 60 million Indonesians. ”

With  a majority of Indonesia being  Muslims the study include a a look at Muslim teaching on the subject of sanitation.  “The study objective was to identify the social, religious, cultural and gender-related factors  which influence rural people’s attitudes towards urine and excreta-based fertilizers in general and the EcoSan urine diversion system in particular.  It doe not pretend to be anything but a modest study: ” the study does not seek to be a comprehensive reflection of the whole of Indonesia. Instead, it provides a preliminary assessment of attitudes towards EcoSan, and identifi es some key drivers and inhibitors…” It survey 350 people in 5 out of 33 provinces included Muslims, Christians and respondents with traditional
beliefs. Four producers and retailers of excreta and urine based fertilizer were also identifi ed and interviewed.

One of the key finding  come in this paragraph:

“The study data show that this is not only a Muslim religious objection,
but that Christians also consider it difficult to keep the excreta dry by not
using water above the disposal hole. While the percentage of Muslims who
considered it difficult to keep the disposal hole dry was fairly constant, the
percentage of Christians who felt this way varied from 35% in Kulon Progo,
Central Java to 78% in East Sumba. This confirms the assumption that
use of water for cleansing, where available, is also an Indonesian cultural
behavior that inhibits the use of a toilet system requiring dry storage. ”

The study reports  the researchers’  findings that  more than “…80% of the respondents are willing to use urine or feces-based fertilizer.” The report goes on to say  a similar number are willing to consume products from  the fields using compost based fertilizer.  The hard part,  the study  states,  is only 50% of the people surveyed are will to to be involved in processing  the urine and feces to make the compost.  (I would like to know how this  compares to other locations around the world 50%  Seems high-  a positive rather than negative –  )

The study goes on to look at the roles/ potential roles  men and women of a family unit have on

  • selecting fertilizer for crops, and for selection installing,toilets for the family.
  • selecting toilets  installing them  and composting waste from them.

The conclusions are complex.  Hopefully organizations that want to just plop down ecosan units all  anywhere in the will carefully read this  short but informative report in its entirety. We must truly understand  the people, if  we / they are to have success  with  ecosan or any other viable alternative!

Report Sections

  • Background
  • Objective of the Study
  • Consideration of EcoSan as a Sanitation Option
  • Methodology
  • Excreta-based fertilizers are still a sensitive issue for some
  • Gender Differences

Publishing Agency:

The Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) “…a multi-donor partnership administered by the World Bank to support poor people in obtaining affordable, safe and sustainable access to water and sanitation services.”

Editors/Authors/ Researchers:

The research was carried out by Entin Sriani Muslim assisted by Ana Nurhasanah in 2009. This learning
note was co-authored by Martin Albrecht, Isabel Blackett, and Ikabul Arianto and peer reviewed by
Eduardo Perez and Jeremy Colin.

Document type Pdf  with search-able  / selectable text. 4 pages  Includes images and graphs

Eye opening report on Haitian sanitation and what the future holds

Fri, 06Aug2010 1 comment

Haiti From sustaining lives to sustainable solutions: the challenge of sanitation

the challenge of sanitation

The  International Federation International Federation Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) realease  a 24 page report  titled Haiti: From sustaining lives to sustainable solutions –the challenge of sanitation in July 2010 Special report, six months on • July 2010

Contents are follows

  • Top line messages
  • Before the earthquake Tentative steps in the face of chronic under-development
    • It’s a dirty job,but somebody has to do it Case Study
  • Six months on: notable achievements, but substitution is not the answer
    • Hygiene promotion at Camp La Piste Case Study
    • Sanitation technicians –doing the work that nobody else wants to do Case Study
  • The challenges of the next 6–12 months Taking the frst steps towards sustainable sanitation solutions
    • Making it fun to learn about hygiene Case Study
    • Cleaning up the camps Case Study
  • The next ten years Innovation is the key
  • Haiti earthquake operation in figures

The  Top line message is as follows

  • Sanitation saves lives. Without it, there is a risk of a secondary disaster, in which the people who have survived the earthquake could succumb to preventable disease.
  • The IFRC is calling on the international community to recognize sanitation as one of the absolute priorities in Haiti’s reconstruction, and to ensure that sufficient resources are devoted to it.
  • The current situation is not sustainable. The IFRC and other agencies providing water and sanitation services on behalf of the Haitian authorities are currently stretched beyond their capacity and mandate.
  • Haitian authorities must receive funding and support to build their capacities to provide the improved sanitation services the Haitian population needs and deserves.
  • Access to appropriate sanitation is also a dignity and protection issue, particularly for women and children. Community participation is essential to identify ways to ensure that people feel safe when using sanitation facilities – toilets and showers – both at night and in the day.
  • Innovative solutions for future sanitation provision are needed. For example research is needed into potential solutions such as small bore sewerage, large-scale composting of waste, or
    establishing biogas production.

They go on to say in  (footnotes are remove here but are  in original pdf)

“…Six months on, a large proportion of sanitation services (and two-thirds of the water trucking) continue to be provided by international partners. This is notsustainable. The IFRC calls upon the international community to recognize sanitation as one of the absolute priorities in Haiti’s reconstruction and ensure that sufficient resources are devoted to it….”

“…Before the earthquake, safe water access was amongst the lowest in Latin America and the Caribbean, nwhilst access to sanitation was amongst the lowest
in the world… ”

“…Whilst the IFRC works mainly in larger camps and neighbourhoods, other agencies and NGOs are working in small camps that are not accessible to
larger de-sludging machines. They have also taken this “improve on what exists” approach, consulting with camp dwellers to learn and build upon their own practices. They are currently piloting a number of different options. These include field-testing the distribution and safe collection of biodegradable bags in locations where there appears to be no other viable solution (for example, no space for more conventional toilets), installing toilets that use little or no water, and investigating options to introduce manual de-sludging pumps that would improve upon the bayacou system of toilet clearance used prior to the earthquake…..”

“There are huge challenges in meeting the long-term sanitation needs for Haiti, but at the same time great opportunities exist to make substantial improvements
to the sanitary environment of Port-au-Prince and beyond. The key is to support the Haitian authorities in investigating and putting in place pioneering sanitation solutions. The crucial starting point is to ensure that equal importance, support and funding is channeled to sanitation as well as the provision of water in tackling the long-term rebuilding of Haiti…”

“…Investment in formative research is needed now  in areas such as the barriers and motivational factors to achieving improved sanitation within Haitian society,
the ability and willingness to pay for it, and whether there is an openness to adopt innovations such as the agricultural use of human-derived fertiliser or the conversion of excreta into energy through biogas production. All these issues must be properly researched, together with a better understanding in how to carry out urban mass sanitation, given that most experience to date stems from rural and peri-urban situations.

Haiti is still in the first phase of recovering from the devastating effects of the 12 January earthquake, but now is the time to look forward – to the next six months and also to the next 10 or 20 years. The decisions made now will have the most profound influence in helping the country deliver a prosperous future for its citizens. Making sure that sanitation is given equal priority and funding
to the provision of water – and seizing opportunities to put in place innovative long-term approaches to solid and human waste management in Haiti requires immediate action, research and planning.”


Ecosan /”ecological sanitation” posters published on slideshare

Wed, 30Dec2009 Comments off
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