Superstructure: Why not build a house instead of a toilet?
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TOPIC: Superstructure: Why not build a house instead of a toilet?

Superstructure: Why not build a house instead of a toilet? 10 Dec 2013 12:58 #6660

  • JKMakowka
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Every time I read BoQs of typical well funded WASH projects building latrines or see those "concrete bunkers" in a sea of mud houses I really tend to wonder if not something has gone horribly wrong in the sanitation world. And obviously with such expensive examples (with a single stance easily in excess of a $1000) no wonder the self funded uptake is minimal.
On the other hand the non-subsidized examples promoted during CLTS campaigns etc. are understandably not very attractive to potential users who might think "going to the bush is more convenient than THAT".

Reading about an project to come up with a $300 house ( www.economist.com/node/18618271?story_id=18618271 and 300house.com/) got me thinking though. It includes by the way an interesting figure:
Muhammad Yunus, the founder of Grameen Bank, has calculated that the average value of the houses of people who have just escaped from poverty is $370.


Besides that some of the proposed technologies could lower the construction costs of toilets also, I seriously think that the willingness to contribute a significant proportion to the construction of a latrine would increase multifold if we would actually build houses with latrines included.

Landownership issues aside, most people would be probably very happy if someone would help them set up a somewhat decent house and subsidize the included latrine in it (and indirectly the building itself as a large part of the cost would have occurred anyways).

In addition it would solve many related issues regarding household hygiene and easy to empty dry toilets are for sure more attractive if the option to relocate the pit is not really available as it would mean relocating the house

Just some food for thought...
Krischan Makowka
Technical Adviser at the Uganda Water and Sanitation NGO Network (UWASNET)
www.uwasnet.org
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Re: Superstructure: Why not build a house instead of a toilet? 10 Dec 2013 16:31 #6661

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Hi Krischan,

very interesting point. I think the problem with expensive unit costs or disproportionally solid latrine superstrucutres is a thing inherent to the apporach of classical donor or government funded latrine building programmes, that are based on a standard design and construction being done by a contractor that builds the same latrine to all households.

The idea of integrating latrine building into housing programmes is a good one. However one has to be careful, it is not yet a solution as such, as house building programmes often face exactly the same problems as do latrine building programmes: the standardised contractor based approach often leads to high unit costs and little ownership of households due to too little participation in the design and building.

And then, while integrating sanitation or latrine building into house building is of course a good idea, why stop with inegrating sanitation and housing? Integrating water supply, engergy supply, education, nutrition and income would also be good. What I want to say: it is the inherent logic of external support programmes that this support focuses on specific sector issues and often leads to neglecting the potential of synergies with other issues. Regretable but hard to change.

As for sanitation, I think the key would be to develop or apply approaches that are more half way between the extremes of pure latrine building programmes and CLTS where all is up to the households without much technical and financial support. Something like a good mix of subsidise or credit schemes, awareness raising, technical advise, supply chain development etc. I think good, proven approaches in this sense are higly needed but still largely lacking.

Best, Florian
Florian Klingel
Water and Sanitation Specialist at Skat Consulting Ltd.
Last Edit: 10 Dec 2013 16:32 by Florian.
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Re: Superstructure: Why not build a house instead of a toilet? 12 Dec 2013 09:12 #6676

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Hi Florian,
Well put in regard to supply-driven approaches that lead to high unit costs. After 10 to 15 years of setting up demonstration toilets at household level and training masons with the hope it would ease uptake, the sector in Uganda is rethinking the approach as replication has been modest so to speak (an Executive Summary of a GIZ-sponsored assessment is herewith attached).

I am in full agreement with striking a balance between latrines building programs and CLTS/ClUES. Many heavily subsidized programs ruin ownership, and it is not uncommon for beneficiaries to expect perpetual O&M support. In several low-income, high density urban areas the challenge is no longer supply of new toilets, but emptying pits that are full and availing them for re-use. Public agencies and practitioners might have to dedicate more resources to faecal sludge management, than coming up with new technologies on the capture/storage or upstream side.

ft


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Last Edit: 12 Dec 2013 09:12 by Kiku.

Re: Superstructure: Why not build a house instead of a toilet? 12 Dec 2013 17:58 #6684

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Yes here in Uganda the issue is quite clear (but thanks for posting that supporting document anyways), but I think it is an issue in maybe other places too.

The efforts that have been posted on this forum (mostly from Latin America) to integrate dry toilets into houses are great though (bench toilet, earth auger etc.), but clearly rather suitable for low middle income countries where even the rural (& peri-urban) already have somewhat decent houses.

In much of rural Africa the predominant type of housing for the poor it the most simple type of grass-roofed mud houses still. Obviously it would make more sense to totally replace those with a nicer type of housing than trying to fit a toilet into those

I think a standard house design, using mostly local materials and include the base necessities, e.g. a kitchen, a toilet and a wash-room (or at least something like that depending on the culturally preferred setup) that can be easily extended later on would be great. This way one could also promote fuel saving brick stoves the same time.

For the dry regions (in Uganda Karamoja and a few other areas) something like this:
www.lavoutenubienne.org/en/nv-technique
Could probably be a great base for a standard design. With the added plastic sheet in the roof it should actually not be that bad in semi-wet areas also, but most of Uganda would probably need a version that has additional protection against heavy rain.
Krischan Makowka
Technical Adviser at the Uganda Water and Sanitation NGO Network (UWASNET)
www.uwasnet.org
Last Edit: 12 Dec 2013 18:01 by JKMakowka.

Re: Superstructure: Why not build a house instead of a toilet? 13 Dec 2013 12:48 #6696

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INteresting point of view.We should think the solution as a whole.We are developing a MILLENUM MODULE THAT IS KITCHEN-LAUNDRY-BATH-but alsoprpduces energy,recovers and filter water,produces warming ,all the basic functions of habitat.-Including dry sanitation.Will be an asnwer to GASS programs from PAHO-WHO UNited Nations request 2014-2019.-Our program includes the local ,coperative production of all compponent by coperatives that generate new jobs..WE would like to share this efforts with you all.-
Best from arch Carlos Levinton
Director research centre Health in housing Net .-PAHO-WHO

Re: Superstructure: Why not build a house instead of a toilet? 13 Dec 2013 13:08 #6697

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Do you have further documents or a weblink to what you are describing?

It sounds good, but I fear covering all these things will make it quite complicated and expensive. It is sometimes better to only get the basic simple things right.
Krischan Makowka
Technical Adviser at the Uganda Water and Sanitation NGO Network (UWASNET)
www.uwasnet.org
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Re: Superstructure: Why not build a house instead of a toilet? 18 Dec 2013 11:39 #6739

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Dear Mr. Carlos Levinton,

Thanks again to Julius for bringing up again more them "Just some food for thought..."

Solving these problems will in turn demand a high degree of co-operation between people who do not always get on: companies and NGOs, designers and emerging-world governments.
source: www.economist.com/node/18618271?story_id=18618271

May you elaborate much more on your made appetizer for a "jack of all trades" (eine eierlegende Woll-Milch-Sau)?! Designing a "MILLENNIUM MODULE: KITCHEN-LAUNDRY-BATH", will it include HOUSING & SANITATION more or less?

As you are representing "The research centre Health in housing Net .-PAHO-WHO", I am guessing you are planing to solve or address beside the ambiguous design, the political/governmental issues too? In short, do you deal with political/governmental dimensions within this ambiguous task too?
If yes, how and do you deal with Marx and Engels “Hell upon Earth” too?

To make it a bit more complicated, see an other nexus approach example, to integrate urban drainage, resource based sanitation, biogas and food security: www.cityblues.la/development



Best Regards,
Detlef SCHWAGER
www.aqua-verde.de
Sanitation-Solutions without external energy
Low-Tech Solutions with High-Tech Effects
"Inspired by Circular Economy"
www.flickr.com/photos/aqua-verde/
Last Edit: 18 Dec 2013 15:01 by AquaVerde.

milenium module 18 Dec 2013 14:09 #6744

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julius there it goes
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.-Levinton
Last Edit: 18 Dec 2013 14:22 by muench.
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Re: milenium module 18 Dec 2013 17:01 #6747

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Thanks for sharing with us Mr. Levinton,

...still very technology-heavy, I regret, as I am as an engineer doing so too.
My above mentioned questions still remain the same.

Best Regards,
Detlef SCHWAGER
www.aqua-verde.de
Sanitation-Solutions without external energy
Low-Tech Solutions with High-Tech Effects
"Inspired by Circular Economy"
www.flickr.com/photos/aqua-verde/
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