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June 2017

Mifuko Trust has just launched a new project in Kenya about which we’d love to share information with you!

We asked our artisans in Kenya what was something they would really need in their day-to-day life. Out of many issues one rose above others: poor sanitation systems. The current sanitation facilities in the area are inadequate and unhygienic and are not sustainable since they have to be rebuilt after a certain time.
 
According to Unicef, 16 million (50 percent) Kenyans do not have adequate sanitation and 50 per cent of rural households have no toilet facilities at all, and where they exist they are generally unhygienic. This has known to lead to lost lives, missed schooling, diseases, malnutrition and poverty. Across Kenya, around 20,000 people die each year from diarrhoea, most of which is directly attributed to poor water, sanitation and hygiene. Using proper toilets and hand washing - preferably with soap - prevents the transfer of bacteria, viruses and parasites found in human excreta which otherwise contaminate water resources, soil and food. It also helps create physical environments that enhance safety, dignity and self-esteem and is an essential foundation for better health, welfare and economic productivity.
 
Our solution to this problem: an ecological dry toilet which stores and composts feces. It will enable a sustainable and hygienic way to recycle human waste into fertilizer, that can then be used at the nearby vegetable field or sold for other local families for revenue. The new sanitation system is affordable for locals, since it will be built from recycled materials and people will be able to have an extra revenue from the by-product. One goal of the project is to have a better harvest on a smaller area, which will be possible using the new free and nutritious fertilizer, as opposed to expensive industrial ones. This is very important since 70% of our artisans’ income comes from farming and 30% from weaving our baskets.

The aim of the project on a broader scale is to protect and promote human health by providing a clean environment and breaking the cycle of disease in an economically viable, socially acceptable, and technically and institutionally appropriate way. All in all, there will be no need for complex infrastructure and the sanitation system will be easy and sustainable to maintain.
 
We have taken example from a similar project in Tanzania started in 2014 and lead by architect Zita Floret (you’ll find a blog about the project here). We are also cooperating with Huussi Ry, The Global Dry-toilet Association of Finland, who has had sanitation projects for example in Zambia and Swaziland (their website: http://www.huussi.net/en/ ).

The project will be started with building a pilot dry toilet in a rural area of Machakos in collaboration with one of our women self-help groups. As the project is entirely carried out by locals, from construction to maintenance, the community will learn new skills that may help them find further employment. The dry toilet is to function as a shared toilet facility for the local artisan group during daytime as well as a private toilet facility for a chosen family during other times of the day. The community concerned is already very excited about the project, so if it turns out successful, hopefully we’ll be able to build more toilets in other communities!

The collection of building materials has already started in May; a local hotel has been putting aside used plastic bottles, 1000 in total, that will be then filled with sand so they can be used in the toilet chamber basement.  The actual construction of the dry toilet will start in August 2017.

We will keep updating information about the project as it goes on and the effects it will have on the community, as well as further information about how the dry toilet functions, so stay tuned!
 
http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2008/pr08/en/
http://zitarchitecture.tumblr.com/
http://www.huussi.net/en/
http://ecosankenya.blogspot.fi/p/about.html
https://www.unicef.org/kenya/wes.html

 

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