10 sept. 2012

msunduza dry toilet

The project area:
Swaziland is a small kingdom with a population of 1.2 million people located in southern Africa by the Mozambiqian and South-African border. Swaziland is experiencing a rapid urbanisation as people are fleeing the rural poverty and end up living in the informal areas around the cities.

Diarrheal diseases and insecurity:
In Msunduza, which is the oldest and the largest community of 16 000 inhabitants in the capital, Mbabane, sanitation solutions are diverse. The majority use a traditional pit latrine, but also a bucket or a “flying toilet”, where faeces are thrown into the environment. With children playing in the polluted streets, diarrhoeal diseases and cholera prevail. Additionally, insufficient sanitation causes social problems and security issues, especially to women and girls.

The project objectives are: :
• Improved sanitation hygiene and knowledge on sanitation
• Increased and more efficient composting and home gardening
• Improved livelihood and participation in the project area
• Sustainable and healthy sanitation culture

Dry toilets and environmental education:
Project activities include building dry toilets to households and to public places, improving hand washing possibilities, giving sanitation and hygiene education and encouraging home gardening and composting.
Thus far, the Msunduza Dry Sanitation Project has funded the construction of 33 toilets, and the environmental and sanitation education provided by the project has reached the inhabitants of Msunduza. The Project has also acted as a supporter for a youth group of one of the communities. In 2013 the project funding will reach its end. Focus of the last phase is to sustain the attainments of the project and to create a responsible exit strategy. This is mainly done through capacity building and by bringing together participants from different levels and sectors of the society.

Working experience from practicals:
Students from the Department of Sustainable Development in the Turku University of Applied Sciences have contributed to the project as part of their obligatory practical training. Students also receive valuable international working experience from working in a development cooperation project. Apart from practical training, Msunduza Dry Sanitation Project has been a topic for several Bachelor Theses and offered possibilities to work as a student assistant.

Benefits of dry sanitation:
Dry sanitation offers a sustainable solution for the improvement of sanitation for the disadvantaged. Dry toilets function without water, which has become scarcity in the regions battling with sanitation problems. Additionally, dry toilets provide a lucrative fertiliser turning waste into a resource.

Project implementation:
The Department of Sustainable Development in the Turku University of Applied Sciences has worked in Msunduza since the year 2004.
The Project is being implemented in cooperation with the Global Dry Toilet Association of Finland, Turku University of Applied Sciences and the Salvation Army in Swaziland as a local partner. The Project was initiated in 2007 and it is funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland.

The Msunduza Dry Sanitation Project 2007-2013

Msunduza is the oldest and partially informal township in Mbabane. The township of about 16 000 people is located close to the city centre on steep hills. The main features of the area are very steep topography, inadequate infrastructure and petty road network. The project is focusing on the poorest communities of Msunduza, where sanitation facilities are scarce and often in poor condition. The project implementation in Msunduza is done in collaboration with the Salvation Army of Swaziland and the Sanitation Experts, who are local volunteers trained to educate the communities of Msunduza. During the project, cooperation with the City Council of Mbabane, the local leaders of Msunduza and the University of Swaziland has been emphasized as well. In the unofficial areas of Msunduza, water and sewage systems are lacking and the waste management services are largely inadequate. Hence, the sanitation solutions are diverse as people use pit latrines, buckets or even plastic bags. In some areas wastewater from the water closets is piped into septic tanks, which flood in to the yards and streets, when emptying the tanks fails. With children playing in the polluted streets and due to the lacking awareness on environmental health, cholera and other diarrhoeal diseases prevail.
The aim of the project is to improve the poor sanitation and sanitation hygiene of the area. The project activities include e.g. building of dry toilets, disseminating information on safe sanitation and increasing awareness on the linkage between hygiene and health. In the long run, the aim is to increase composting, home gardening and, furthermore, to improve the food security of households through provision of composted material from the dry toilets as a fertilizer in home gardens. Improvement of hygiene and food security is essential in Swaziland, where 26 % of the people are HIV infected. The Swazi culture is also very traditional and male-dominated, thus the project also aims to improve the position of women and children in the community through environmental and hygiene education.

More Information:

Jonna Heikkilä
Turku University of Applied Sciences

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