WaSH Spotlight: Residents

One of the most important aspects of a successful project is the positive and lasting impacts it has on the local community. As part of the WaSH project Spotlights series, we have explored the different sub-teams within the overall project and their place in the model. However, it is time to focus on the residents, who are the most important part of the project.

Residents in Vingunguti choose to opt in to the community simplified sewerage network, following educational discussions explaining the health and environmental benefits of the system. The latrines are a household investment, organised through a deferred payment scheme. As a result, residents own their latrines and are more likely to be committed to contributing to maintenance and community decision-making.

Our community engagement team has spoken to some of the SUA members  of Routes 4, 5 and 6 (for more information, check out https://cambridgedevelopment.wordpress.com/2018/08/29/wash-spotlight-community-engagement/ ). The issues they face have been highlighted below with quotes from the community.

 

The Septic Tank

“I am very regretful to those who haven’t joined the network until now as they will keep facing not only health problems but also the difficulties in emptying their septic tanks when full as the area is unplanned settlement and there is no access roads for the trucks needed to empty the septic tanks when full”

  • Member of Route 4 SUA

 

Before the latrines were introduced in Vingunguti, most houses relied on septic tanks, which had to be emptied regularly. In Dar Es Salaam 80% of households are dependent on pit latrines, whilst only 6% are connected to a sewerage system.[1] Pit latrines collect and store human faeces in a pit direct below a toilet. The pit should be periodically emptied. However, due to cost, most households do not responsibly empty their pits and instead allow them to overflow during the rainy season. Uncovered faecal matter can increase the incidence of trachoma and most waterborne diseases.[2] Simplified sewerage is an affordable, safer alternative.

The septic tank is a tank, typically underground, in which sewage is collected and allowed to decompose through bacterial activity before draining by means of a soakaway. A soakaway is a pit into which waste water is piped so that it drains slowly out into the surrounding soil.

Although there are many benefits of the septic tank system, the residents of Vingunguti have found that the simplified sewerage system is “not only cost friendly but also space saving and environmental friendly.” The convenience of having a system which does not have to be regularly emptied and which also has the capacity to handle larger amounts of sewage makes the CDI and Kite WaSH model very suitable for use in crowded, informal settlements such as Vingunguti.

 

Reducing Disease

“Currently the situation is very impressing as there is no diseases such as Typhoid that used to occur. We are really thankful because this project has not only helped to reduce waterborne diseases but also has promoted hygiene”

  • Member of Route 4 SUA

The number of people involved in the project so far is only about 400 people, and detailed data from health centres is difficult to obtain due to confidentiality so a thorough investigation into the occurrence of water-borne diseases has not been done. Research from the WHO states that the “safe human excreta disposal brings about huge health benefits”[3]. It is reasonable to extrapolate that the occurrence of diseases in Vingunguti has decreased if the simplified sewerage network is working. Comments made by members of the SUAs has confirmed this fact anecdotally.

[1] Chaggu, Esnati, et al. “Excreta disposal in Dar-es-Salaam.” Environmental Management 30.5 (2002): 0609-0620

[2] Montgomery, Maggie A., and Menachem Elimelech. “Water and sanitation in developing countries: including health in the equation.” (2007): 17-24

[3] http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/hygiene/om/linkingchap8.pdf

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