Minzoto School in Dungu, DR Congo - questions about new toilets and handwashing stations
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Minzoto School in Dungu, DR Congo - questions about new toilets and handwashing stations 14 Jan 2014 19:03 #6988

  • AnnShannon
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Minzoto School, Dungu, DRCongo, suffered profound deterioration during the reign of terror imposed by the Lord's Resistance Army in the surrounding territories of DRC from 2008-12. Today, 705 children attend this school in 4 permanent and 4 temporary classrooms, all of which are crumbling. There are no functioning latrines, no hand washing stations, and no well for drinking water at the school. Teachers have no academic resource materials from which to teach, but are doing their heroic best, nonetheless.

Now that security has improved in Dungu, Friends of Minzoto School (based in Portland, Oregon, USA) is fundraising and researching resources to support the Minzoto School Parents Committee's efforts to improve the school and restore its capacity to deliver a quality education. Phase 1 of our project is to build the well, 10 latrines and hand washing stations. Ultimately, our goal is to have a total of 17 new and remodeled, fully equipped classrooms to serve Minzoto's students.

Since its founding in 1982, Minzoto School has been prized in Dungu for providing the best preschool and primary education available in the community. Many of its former students have gone on to become doctors, nurses, teachers, lawyers, priests, and other community leaders. Minzoto has an important role to play as this devastated community begins to rebuild from the prolonged trauma, deprivation and universal hunger experienced by everyone in Dungu at the hands of the LRA.

If anyone has expertise or knowledge of resources which would be helpful to the project, please respond to our Forum postings or contact us.

Questions about the project's latrine and hand washing station needs posed about the Minzoto School Project (in Dungu, Oriental Province, Democratic Republic of Congo) by Architects Without Borders are answered below.
Ann Shannon
Secretary,
Friends of Minzoto School

"for the children, born and unborn, who are our inheritors" --Alan Paton (paraphrased)
Last Edit: 14 Jan 2014 21:21 by muench.

Re: Minzoto School, Dungu DRC 14 Jan 2014 21:29 #6991

  • AnnShannon
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We are particularly concerned about any design innovations that keep insects/fly and other pest infestations and odor down, as well as those that limit "splash" during urination or any fecal material catching on the slab. Anyone with knowledge of effective, inexpensive design innovations related to these issues would be most helpful. Please reply to our posts and advise us.


Questions about the Minzoto School project's latrine and hand washing station needs posed by Architects Without Borders are answered below. Architects Without Borders-Oregon is a non-profit, all volunteer organization offering design services to non-profit, public service projects around the world.

1. Hand washing stations:

We absolutely need hand washing stations. We prefer to have them located near the latrines in order to minimize the likelihood that hand washing is skipped. Use of elevated 55 gallon drums, likely filled manually by bucket, but perhaps by rainwater catchment from a roof if the elevation and proximity is right, can be a good, gravity solution. Students can fill elevated water drums with 5 gallon buckets brought from the well each morning when water catchment is low or non-existent due to the dry season or drought.

It is 15 meters from the front of latrines to the back of the existing building. Having water catchment capacity on that building should be possible.

2. Are these people wipers or washers? Wipers

3. All squatters? Any reason to accommodate sitters? All squatters – no reason to accommodate sitting needs.

4. What's the population the 10 units need to serve?
There are currently 705 students, and 20 administrators and faculty. Enrollment is likely to increase after we add new classrooms, which may necessitate additional latrines later. Our president, who is from Dungu, assures me that they do not use toilets with the same frequency that we do here in the US.

5. Appropriate for urine diverting toilets? This would be new, but could be good. If built into the system and not used, it wouldn’t be much of a problem if the traditional use of the main hole were still available.

6. Can you use urinals to divert 1/2 or 3/4 of urine from composting toilets? Composting toilets would be a new item confronting strong local taboos. Getting a composting toilet introduced through a teacher, nurse or other interested party first would be better so as to avoid a misstep here. A strong educational component would be necessary to ensure that any innovations are actually integrated and used. Our President feels strongly that composting toilets would not be welcomed or used by the local population due to taboo and outright abhorrence of contact with human waste. Since the latrines/hand washing stations and well comprise the 1st phase of our project, we would prefer not to use anything but simple latrines that operate in fairly traditional ways, since we are demonstrating the capacity to deliver on the project. We can't risk something not working.

We do however, have strong concerns that any innovations regarding ways to minimize flies and other pests be included in the design.

7. Girls? Think about menstrual hygiene management from the get go.

This is a K-6 school. No menstrual cycle is involved other than for the faculty and administrators. Though there is contemplation of expanding to High School later, women use materials they bring from home to handle the menstrual cycle, and they are not thrown away.

8. Do students play any role in school upkeep? Can they? Any school gardens?

Yes, students have some chores they are typically assigned as part of the school upkeep. An example would be sweeping the courtyard. Students will also clean the latrines each morning with a soapy disinfectant solution each morning. Students would also replenish the hand washing water drums with water collected from the new well each day during the dry season.

There are no gardens on the grounds due to lack of space. Especially after the new classroom wings are built, the extra grounds will be dedicated to playground.

9. How are you going to ensure long term maintenance? The Parent Committee is in charge of that.
Ann Shannon
Secretary,
Friends of Minzoto School

"for the children, born and unborn, who are our inheritors" --Alan Paton (paraphrased)
Last Edit: 14 Jan 2014 22:23 by AnnShannon. Reason: add & enhance info

Re: Minzoto School, Dungu DRC 16 Jan 2014 04:54 #7008

  • canaday
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Dear Ann,

This is an important case. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

I highly recommend you build Urine-diverting Dry Toilets, in order to not depend on the unpredictable supply of water, to keep the contagious material as small and manageable as possible, and to give the nutrients back to the soil somewhere nearby (maybe in exchange for food for the children).

Consider making smaller units for the smaller children, for better acceptance and safety.

About the hand washing, one option would be to set up TippyTaps (www.tippytap.org/) made from redirectioned plastic bottles, which could be manually filled when needed (esp. in the dry season). Attached is a photo of model we make here in Ecuador, in which it fills on its own from rain dripping off the roof. Note that the bottle tips and a small stream of water comes out when the user steps on a stick that forms a pedal.

Given the number of students, on the other hand, your idea of a large rainwater tank is also a very good idea. The water can still be dispensed via the children stepping on sticks as pedals, thus not spreading germs by openning faucets with dirty hands. I found the following instructions of how to adapt the float valves of flush toilets as pedals to operate faucets. Nonetheless, I consider that it would be better for the valve to be high out of reach of mischievous hands, with a string hanging down to the stick that is stepped upon.
www.wikihow.com/Make-Foot-Taps-to-Conserve-Water

I recommend setting up lots of Waterless Urinals, since almost everyone will urinate at the school daily, while defecation would more likely occur at home (unless they have no toilets at home and wait until getting to school). The Waterless Urinals can be done for girls with standard store-bought plastic funnels (e.g., 25 cm diameter) set at a 45° angle in 18 cm slots in the floor.

I have made Waterless Urinals for boys with 4-liter HDPE chlorine or disinfectant bottles. There are a variety of tricks to avoid smell, but the most important one is to assure that all the urine drains way to its destination, with no pooling along the way.

These funnels usually avoid it, but if splashing is a problem, a plastic mesh can be placed to control this.

The urine could be stored in jugs or barrels, to later be transported to farms, although a pipeline could potentially reach downhill to agricultural land.

Containers of feces (for example, woven polypropylene sacks) could be stored for over 6 months for drying, decomposition and die-off of pathogens in a dedicated shed ... although if the shed is also a solar oven, the time could be greatly shortened. I recommend recycling the safe, treated ex-feces as cover material for the new feces, since it inoculates them with decomposer soil microbes, filters the smell better than most other materials, and eliminates the need to constantly transport solids to and fro. The inicial cover material could be a mix of rice hulls, forest soil and decomposed and sun-dried pig feces. More info in this interview:
www.chekhovskalashnikov.com/human-waste-disposal/

If the neighborhood lacks toilets, it would be great to build one or more toilets that open to the street and that can be rented to the public for something like 10 cents per use. These would be operated by an attendant from the local community, but the fertilizers generated would belong to the school.

Education on proper use and management is key and needs to be constant, with an emphasis on the beginning of each school year, plus the kids should participate in cleaning and maintenance.

What do you think? Please let us know how things go... and how we can help.

Best wishes,
Chris Canaday
Attachments:
Conservation Biologist and EcoSan Promoter
Omaere Ethnobotanical Park
Puyo, Pastaza, Ecuador, South America
inodoroseco.blogspot.com
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Re: Minzoto School, Dungu DRC 17 Jan 2014 07:33 #7027

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Hi Chris,

Thank you for your thoughtful, informative response. Our main problem is that our President, who is from the local area, informs us that there is a extremely strong taboo and abhorrence of handling anything to do with human waste. She does not think composted, pathogen free fecal material, or stored urine, would be welcomed in any form by the local community. It is really problematic. Frustrating from my point of view that these benefits cannot be gleaned from the process.

I think that we might be able to have urinals accepted if they drained into the ground effectively to be filtered by the soil. Do you happen to know what depth of soil would be necessary above the water table for that to be safe for groundwater? Or if anyone else knows (perhaps it depends on the type of soil). As you probably have guessed, I am no expert in these matters, and am actually a neophyte.

Thank you again,
Ann Shannon
Secretary,
Friends of Minzoto School

"for the children, born and unborn, who are our inheritors" --Alan Paton (paraphrased)
Last Edit: 17 Jan 2014 07:33 by AnnShannon.

Re: Minzoto School, Dungu DRC 24 Jan 2014 00:08 #7100

  • canaday
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Dear Ann,

We can all understand your president's loathe for dealing with feces, since everyone loathes this. And this is one of the main reasons for making UDDTs, since these allow us to jail up the feces and know exactly where they are until they are not feces any more, just soil. With any water-based toilet, the feces dissolve into the water and more or less disappear and can thus be hiding all throughout the environment. When I explain about UDDTs to the indigenous people here in Amazonian Ecuador, I point out that a UDDT jails up all of these microscopic enemies until they die, while open defecation or water-based toilets liberate these enemies, which can then attack us at any moment. They usually get the idea immediately.

The finished "biosolids" have no resemblence to feces and really are not feces any more, they are just soil (and what future would we have without soil?). It is correct to loathe having contact with fresh feces, and this no longer applies when they are no longer feces. It is key to demonstrate this by letting people see, smell and touch the finished biosolids ... and to have laboratory analyses done, plus demonstrations of its value in agriculture or as cover material.

The attached photos of finished compost are not disgusting in the least and the work of Fertile Earth and their Ladies of Manure Calendar strives to open the general public's mind concerning the beauty and importance of soil and compost.
www.miamiherald.com/2013/01/23/3196994/l...e-south-florida.html

At first glance, one might think that 2-chambered UDDTs might be preferable, as the feces stay (roughly) where they fall until they have safely decomposed, but with the massive number of kids at the school, I would recommend single-chambered units with interchangeable containers. This allows us to have much more control, since containers can be changed at the first hint of any problem with smell or flies. Also, if the containers are closed in less than a week, the flies do not have time to develop and hatch out. Two-chambered UDDTs also generally require someone to level every week the mountain that forms with a stick, so they thus involve more management of the feces than one may think.

I look forward to hearing how your plans advance.

Best wishes,
Chris Canaday
Attachments:
Conservation Biologist and EcoSan Promoter
Omaere Ethnobotanical Park
Puyo, Pastaza, Ecuador, South America
inodoroseco.blogspot.com
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Re: Minzoto School, Dungu DRC 24 Jan 2014 01:01 #7101

  • AnnShannon
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thank you, Chris!

I will share your post with our President (and her husband, who is an engineer). This information is really helpful. I hope I can convince her that education can help.I would very much appreciate postings by yourself and others on the details, process, and curriculum used to educate a resistant local population and win them over to consistency of practice in handling the formerly fecal waste, and utilizing it in agricultural endeavors. How long an educational process is involved? What kind of ongoing, school curriculum is available (preferably in French). Elisabeth had posted a wonderful article on a school that had a sanitation education team that kept the focus. All of that is beyond wonderful for us here, but this area of Congo -- Dungu -- is very remote. We have limited communication access, and no mail service, so ensuring implementation, particularly supporting an ongoing educational process, and sustaining it, are major considerations. We are having inordinate difficulty just getting simple measurements from the Parents Committee for our Architects Without Borders design team. I cannot imagine what our likelihood for success would be in instituting a transformational sanitation educational process.

Would sending a representative there to conduct, say, a three week educational program at the school and with local farmers, and to train a team of others to carry the educational program forward after s/he is gone, be adequate? Could someone recommend a curriculum resource?

Thanks again, Chris...I am definitely asking our design team to include your urinal suggestions and the pedal design for operating the handwashing stations to prevent cross-contamination.
Ann Shannon
Secretary,
Friends of Minzoto School

"for the children, born and unborn, who are our inheritors" --Alan Paton (paraphrased)

Re: Minzoto School, Dungu DRC 26 Jan 2014 17:39 #7121

  • canaday
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Dear Ann,

About your question concerning potential contamination of the groundwater from dispersing urine just under the top of the soil, this would be of little or no concern, if the water table is at least (I would say) one meter down, there are no streams or water wells within a distance of say 16 meters, and plants like fruit trees are allowed to grow. If this was wastewater from water-based toilets, the risk would be much, much greater, with so much water pushing the contamination forward. My proposal is to disperse the urine (maybe diluted with some graywater) in hoses with tiny holes every 50 cm (which I make by poking pieces of plastic lollypop sticks, which are tine pipes, into the hose), buried 10 cm under the suface of the soil. Maybe one separate 12-meter-long hose for each urine funnel. If the soil is hard, impermeable clay, as I seem to see on your Facebook page,
www.facebook.com/Minzoto
and you have lots of manpower, you may want to lay the hoses on the soil (staked down wherever they tend to lift up) and cover the entire area of these hoses with 10 or 12 cm of sandy soil or pure sand from the river.

I suggest planting a wide variety of useful plants, including bananas, fruit trees, grass for forage, palms for thatch, and bamboo for construction. Time will show which adapt best to these conditions and are most productive and valuable.

Is there a trash problem there (like in so many other countries)? What are the main components of this trash? The edges of this raised bed could be formed by pushing glass bottles (or plastic bottles filled with sand). The trick is to open a hole with a pole or a digging bar, insert the bottle up-side-down, and step on it to the desired height.

The FB photos show the precarious state of the school's infrastructure. What is your plan for building roofs?

I think it will be key to find (preferably natve-French-speaking) volunteers to stay for long periods of time (optimally entire school years). They could teach other subjects, while educating about UDDTs and coordinating maintenance. I took the liberty to write to following organization to ask if they could send volunteers:
www.facebook.com/France.Volontaires.Congo?fref=ts
There must be other good organizations of volunteers. The USA Peace Corps unfortunately no longer works in the DRC.

I have been seeing in the internet that this region suffers a terribly high incidence of rape. This is all the more reason to use decomposed feces as cover material, since it would be on hand to throw at any rapist who shows up, and, unlike the students and teachers, the rapist will not likely have learned that decomposed feces are totally safe. ("Eat sh*t, you rapist!")

Please tell more about the initial connection with this particular school.

By the way, I speak French (having studied my last year in high school in Quebec as an AFS exchange student), in case you want to run any educational materials past me ... or to write new ones. Do the locals speak (or at least understand) normal French?

Have you seen Christophe Elain's book, "un petit coin por soulager le planete"? I have only seen the illustrations, but am confident that the text is equally great. Does anyone know of a version that can be read online?
www.amazon.es/petit-coin-pour-soulager-p...3%A8te/dp/2953087702
This would be good for all to read at the school.

Best wishes,
Chris
Conservation Biologist and EcoSan Promoter
Omaere Ethnobotanical Park
Puyo, Pastaza, Ecuador, South America
inodoroseco.blogspot.com

Re: Minzoto School in Dungu, DR Congo - questions about new toilets and handwashing stations 05 Feb 2014 13:58 #7258

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Dear Chris,

In response to your suggestion:
Have you seen Christophe Elain's book, "un petit coin por soulager le planete"? I have only seen the illustrations, but am confident that the text is equally great. Does anyone know of a version that can be read online?
www.amazon.es/petit-coin-pour-soulager-p...3%A8te/dp/2953087702

There is now a thread which has started here: forum.susana.org/forum/categories/95-cal...r-dry-toilet-project by the author, Christophe Elain, regarding funding opportunities for dry/ composting toilets which they are offering from the proceeds of the book.

More information about the book is also available here: eauphilane.monsite-orange.fr/

Kind regards,

Roslyn
on behalf of the SuSanA Secretariat
Posted by a member of the SuSanA secretariat held by the GIZ Sustainable sanitation sector program
Located at Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, Eschborn, Germany
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