Training sessions with pit emptiers in Mombasa, Kenya, using the Gulper: training materials we might use in our trainings? - and incentives
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TOPIC: Training sessions with pit emptiers in Mombasa, Kenya, using the Gulper: training materials we might use in our trainings? - and incentives

Training sessions with pit emptiers in Mombasa, Kenya, using the Gulper: training materials we might use in our trainings? - and incentives 23 Jul 2014 16:33 #9454

  • rsklar
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Thank you to Doreen for sharing your work and to all others who have contributed to this interesting and informative thread. I am a graduate student at University of California Berkeley’s School of Public Health in the division of Occupational and Environmental Health. I am currently doing my practicum in Mombasa with Pivot LTD, a start-up waste-to-energy company that converts human waste into solid fuel for cement plants and other industries. Pivot's mission is to eliminate haphazard dumping of human waste, and the public health and environmental threats that go with it. (Pivot was formerly waste enterprisers waste-enterprisers.com/)

My project is to develop strategies for maximizing sewage sourcing from informal communities. Most people rely on pit latrines, which are used by over 500,000 residents in Mombasa’s slums. When these latrines are full, manual pit emptiers called “Churas” remove the wastes then bury or dump them within the community – either on the owner’s property or a neighbor’s, space permitting. Our goal is to transport these wastes from the community to our waste-to-fuel facility.

Slum and low-income communities represent a critical stakeholder in Pivot’s business success. Without their waste, the volumes of fuel necessary to be profitable or to meet the volumetric expectations of potential customers will not be met.
As of now, we are working on building partnerships with the pit emptiers, known here as “Churas”, and optimizing sludge emptying and transportation schemes. We will use the gulper developed by Water for the People and 50 gallon drums to transport sludge in trucks that are rented on call from community members.

We also hope to do our part in protecting the occupational health of our partners and minimize their exposure to workplace hazards. As you mentioned, the emptiers we are working are poorly paid and exposed to toxic fumes and airborne pathogens and contaminants.

We are going to trial different incentive systems to maximize sourcing from these low-income communities. These incentive systems include 1) providing receptacles to the Churas for fecal sludge, and having a designated point within the community for Pivot to collect them when full. 2) Providing direct cash for emptiers that deliver sludge to the plant. In this latter scheme, vehicles owned by other community members hired for use in sludge transport.

Prior to starting our trial, we will conduct training sessions with the emptiers. I am wondering if you or anyone on this forum wishes to share any thoughts, resources, or educational materials we might use in our trainings. Please let me know if you have questions about our program.

Rachel Sklar
Pivot LTD
Supply Chain Analyst
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www.pivotworks.co
www.waste-enterprisers.com
Last Edit: 23 Jul 2014 20:01 by rsklar.
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Re: Training sessions with pit emptiers in Mombasa, Kenya, using the Gulper: resources or educational materials we might use in our trainings? 29 Jul 2014 11:59 #9530

  • muench
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Dear Rachel,

Great to see your first post on the forum, welcome! I have now moved it to this new thread with a dedicated title in order to attract a bit more attention to it, as it may be "lost" at the end of a very long thread (you had put it here before which also made sense: forum.susana.org/forum/categories/53-fae...-exhauster-operators).

To provide a bit more context to your question, I would like to draw the attention of the readers to a new thread where this project by Pivot Ltd., that you work for, was recently introduced:
forum.susana.org/forum/categories/98-res...pivot-ltd-kenya#9401

By the way, did you see that Marijn asked a question in that thread to your project team, perhaps you could answer it? That would be great.

And I am wondering why you have decided to use the Gulper and not the newer version, the Rammer, which is now being promoted by the people who previously promoted the Gulper (e.g. Steve Sugden). Please see here on the forum:
forum.susana.org/forum/categories/53-fae...per-for-pit-emptying

I would assume that the team of Water for People might have some training materials for you, I will alert Sherina Munyana to this thread (her project: forum.susana.org/forum/categories/97-ena...bolivia-peru-ecuador)

And have you considered trialling the Excravator (mind you, it might be hard to get your hands on a prototype, as they are not yet in production), see here:
forum.susana.org/forum/categories/99-fae...sa-now-field-testing

Good luck with your work and I hope others will contribute in this thread to help you find the information you are looking for.

Regards,
Elisabeth
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
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Re: Training sessions with pit emptiers in Mombasa, Kenya, using the Gulper: resources or educational materials we might use in our trainings? 29 Jul 2014 12:36 #9531

  • JKMakowka
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A quick remark:
As great as the gulper and rammer (now called gulper 2.0 as far as I know) are, they have the problem that you need to dilute most pit-latrine contents with quite a lot of water to be able to pump them.
Besides issues in getting the water it also poses a real problem with transport (the main bottleneck here in Kampala) later on, and last but not least with drying the sludge if you plan to use it as fuel.

The above Excravator is probably better in that regard, but I remain sceptical (unless proven otherwise) how well it will deal with real latrine sludges that contain much foreign objects and solid waste.

For now your best bet is probably to improve the manual pit emptying methods with better shovels etc., train the workers in workplace safety and provide them with protective gear.
Krischan Makowka
WASH Delegate - Philippines
Last Edit: 29 Jul 2014 12:39 by muench.

Re: Training sessions with pit emptiers in Mombasa, Kenya, using the Gulper: resources or educational materials we might use in our trainings? 29 Jul 2014 12:57 #9532

  • muench
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Also, I would say look at the materials that come out of South Africa on this topic, in particular eThekwini Municipality and also Partners in Development (www.pid.co.za - Dave Still). Perhaps they have even uploaded some training guides on their website.

As a starting point, check out these 3 volumes by Dave and co. on "Tackling the challenges of full pit latrines":

Still, D., Foxon, K., O’Riordan, M. (2012). Tackling the challenges of full pit latrines - Volumes 1 to 3. WRC Report No. 1745/1/12, Water Research Commission, South Africa.
susana.org/lang-en/library?view=ccbktype...p;type=2&id=1712

I copy here something from the Appendix of volume 1 - the focus seems to be on protective equipment (could be quite difficult to enforce in hot climates!) and on health measures for the workers: vaccination and deworming.

Specification

Pit emptying workers must wear personal protective
equipment while engaged in pit emptying and sludge
transport. Minimum requirements are:
· Overalls
· Steel toe capped gumboots
· Heavy duty rubber gloves
· Gas masks

Pit emptying workers will be medically screened before
during and after employment, and will be treated with
deworming medication every six months and six months
after termination of employment. Those with highly
compromised immune systems should not be selected for
this work.

Even with the use of PPE, pit emptying workers are at a
high risk of infection and should be looked after.
Deworming medication should be administered to families
where pit emptying has taken place six months after
emptying.

Even if workers are careful it is hard to empty a pit
without making a mess. A course of deworming
medication taken six months after the exercise will deal
with possible infection.



Also, I would say take a look how Sanergy trains and protects its sanitation workers, who are emptying buckets from single vault urine diversion dehydration toilets in Nairobi.
See e.g. here:
forum.susana.org/forum/categories/52-mob...ry-loo-user-and-kiva
oer here:
forum.susana.org/forum/categories/52-mob...rgy-in-nairobi-kenya

Please don't forget if you do find good materials to post them here so that we can include them in the SuSanA library to that others can benefit, too. Thanks.

Oh and about the issue of incentives, perhaps this franchising concept from South Africa could be interesting for you:

Wall, K., Bhagwan, J., Ive, O. (2011). Piloting franchising O&M partnerships: connecting unrelated concepts, to create something innovative. 35th WEDC International Conference, UK.
susana.org/lang-en/library/library?view=...p;type=2&id=1573

Regards,
Elisabeth
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Independent consultant
Community manager of this forum via SEI
(see: www.susana.org/en/resources/projects?search=SEI)
Wikipedian, co-founder of WikiProject Sanitation: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Sanitation

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Last Edit: 29 Jul 2014 12:58 by muench.

Re: Training sessions with pit emptiers in Mombasa, Kenya, using the Gulper: resources or educational materials we might use in our trainings? 31 Jul 2014 09:23 #9565

  • Bobbie
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Apologies for not sending an update sooner as you requested, Elisabeth. Our project on practices to protect the health of pit emptiers, householders and the environment during pit emptying has been stalled for more than a year due to the pit emptying programmes we are studying being on hold. I have written up what we've learnt so far however in the document attached. Section 5 provides a framework for a health and safety programme which might be useful for the training sessions in Kenya, it could also be customized to a specific pit emptying programme and be included in a contract or be used by a health and safety officer as a guide. We also have a student who has been testing the efficacy of various cleaning products in deactivating helminth eggs, I will send that information along once it is ready.

Regards

Bobbie
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Re: Training sessions with pit emptiers in Mombasa, Kenya, using the Gulper: resources or educational materials we might use in our trainings? 31 Jul 2014 12:47 #9571

  • rsklar
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Hi Elizabeth,

Thank you for the warm response. I am in touch with Sherina and her team in Kampala is helping us get a fully assembled gulper 2.0/rammer prototype to Mombasa.

The reasons we chose to go with the gulper 2.0/Rammer over the excravator are the following:

1.Capital cost- The Rammer has significantly lower capital costs ($300 USD for materials and manufacturing). The Excravator run from $1,000 to $3,000, not including the cost of fuel.

2. Accessibility and proximity of prototypes in Kampala and a relatively low shipping cost to our site Mombasa.

We should be receiving the equipment in the coming weeks so I will make sure to update the forum on our experience using the equipment.

Best,

Rachel Sklar

Re: Training sessions with pit emptiers in Mombasa, Kenya, using the Gulper: resources or educational materials we might use in our trainings? 31 Jul 2014 13:04 #9572

  • rsklar
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Thanks for your thoughts.

Here in Mombasa, emptiers are already using up to 100 gallons of water to remove deeper, drier, and more compacted sludge at the bottom of the latrine. Furthermore, much of the population is muslim washers, so the sludge is quite wet anyway.
We are working in collaboration with a municipal WWTP and our dewatering system is effective at removing solids from their incoming flows that are 0.1 % solid. It is unlikely that watered latrine sludge will be diluted to a level much higher than this so I don’t think water is going to be a particular issue for our operations.

Transporting sludge that has been excessively hydrated will be a major challenge in developing our business model as it will require additional and expensive resources such as more/larger containers, larger trucks, or more trips per empty. The goal of our initial sourcing trial is analyze the cost/benefit ratio of various combinations of sludge removal, hauling, and transportation schemes in delivering the quality and quantity of sludge necessary to drive net gains for our company and the emptiers.

Re: Training sessions with pit emptiers in Mombasa, Kenya, using the Gulper: resources or educational materials we might use in our trainings? 07 Aug 2014 14:12 #9659

  • rsklar
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Bobbie,

Thank you for posting this! It is a tremendous resource. It is great to see a multifaceted and rigorous approach to assessing risks to manual emptiers.

I noticed that your pathogen testing is centered on helminthes. Is there a reason you chose to test for helminthes only? What about other bacterial, viral and protozoan pathogens that are found in sludge and contribute to significant disease burden?
Last Edit: 07 Aug 2014 14:14 by rsklar.

Re: Training sessions with pit emptiers in Mombasa, Kenya, using the Gulper: resources or educational materials we might use in our trainings? 08 Aug 2014 05:21 #9668

  • Bobbie
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We are also looking at E Coli, Salmonella and Staphylococcus but the lab data from our first fieldwork excess isn't complete yet so I haven't reported it. We are finding we need to fine tune our sampling methods though, as the bacteria are showing up everywhere, both before pit emptying and after, which tells us how contaminated household environments can be but doesn't show very clearly how much contamination has happened through the pit emptying exercise. Lots of contamination is showing up on workers' hands and faces too, but while this is probably from pit emptying in general it could be from handling their dirty equipment before pit emptying and once again it is difficult to isolate what has happened specifically during one pit emptying exercise. We are improving our collection methods, though, and will let you know what the results are once we are able to do more fieldwork.

Regards

Bobbie

Re: Training sessions with pit emptiers in Mombasa, Kenya, using the Gulper: training materials we might use in our trainings? - and incentives 26 Aug 2014 13:04 #9888

  • Doreen
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Dear Rachel,

Thank you for the information that you have provided. I had the chance to meet with Ashley last week and we discussed a little about the work of Pivot in Mombasa. In addition, I also gave her information about the current developments of the UBSUP programme. For more information, please visit this thread:

forum.susana.org/forum/categories/97-ena...f-and-giz-kenya#6607

First and foremost I noticed that you use the name “Chura” to refer to manual emptiers. Even though this is a common name particularly in low income areas, it is a derogatory name which further aids in stigmatising emptiers and the work that they do, taking into consideration that they do the job to the best of their ability without any assistance. We completely refrain from using this term in the sector. Think of another name that you can use for the group that you are training. Within the UBSUP programme, we are using the SafiSan Sanitation Team.

Within the UBSUP programme, a step by step procedure has been developed that will ensure that the emptiers are formalised and integrated within the legal and institutional framework. The step by step procedure covers identification, registration, practical and theoretical training, certification and licensing with the appropriate bodies. It also looks at the appropriate equipment that needs to be used to ensure that the emptiers are well protected. I would be happy to share with you and your team this document once I complete it and get approval to circulate it. You are also welcome to attend one of the SafiSan Sanitation Team trainings that will be held in Oloolaiser, Nakuru and Embu.

Best regards,

Doreen
Doreen Mbalo
Programme Advisor
GIZ Water Sector Reform Programme
Nairobi, Kenya
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Re: Training sessions with pit emptiers in Mombasa, Kenya, using the Gulper: training materials we might use in our trainings? - and incentives 29 Sep 2014 07:38 #10318

  • rsklar
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Hello Doreen,

Sorry for the delayed response as our field team has been very busy here in Mombasa. It seems like the UBSUP program in Nairobi has has made great strides in providing support to the utilities and making an impact on the immediate needs of communities.

Our informal sourcing team here at Pivot has done a series of trainings covering health, occupational safety, and entrepreneurial development. We are now in the process of getting the proper liscencing to the emptiers that have been identified. One of our main challenges in Mombasa is ensuring the protection of emptiers from reprimanding and arrest by the authorities who deem their emptying practices as illegal. It would be very helpful to learn more about your procedure to ensure the legal protection of the emptying entrepreneurs you work with.

While we understand the common use of "chura" as a derogatory term, in our initial meetings with the emptiers, we discovered that this name has been reappropriated to an extent that it is no longer a slur, but a marker of identity for many emptier groups in Mombasa. In fact, some call us part of their "team chura." Rather than assigning a group name to our partners, we have encouraged them to choose names that they prefer.

If you would like to read a bit more about our operations, we have started a blog on some of our activities in the community. Here is our first post: www.pivotworks.co/updates/2014/9/22/feca...public-health-heroes

It would be fantastic to the trainings that the SafiSan Sanitation Team holds. Are there any scheduled trainings this month? It would be great to have members of our field staff or emptier organizations come, learn, and share information.

Congrats on your project and it is great to be in touch!

Rachel
Last Edit: 29 Sep 2014 07:46 by rsklar.

Re: Training sessions with pit emptiers in Mombasa, Kenya, using the Gulper: training materials we might use in our trainings? - and incentives 09 Mar 2015 06:53 #12404

  • rsklar
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I have attached my presentation at the recent FSM3 conference on key findings from our incentive trial here.
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