Testing of new pit latrine designs? - Participatory design, corbelled pit latrines - Mzuzu University, Malawi

  • rochelleholm
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Testing of new pit latrine designs? - Participatory design, corbelled pit latrines - Mzuzu University, Malawi

In Malawi, we have been working through participatory design to develop new pit latrine designs, for both rural and peri-urban areas.

See Going Beyond ODF: Combining Sanitation Marketing with Participatory Approaches to Sustain ODF Communities in Malawi

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The corbelled structure is mainly trying to address the problem of collapsing pits, but at a low cost and without the use of costly cement in construction.

The pit can not be taken apart to be emptied.

The main application compared to convential pit designs is in rural areas, and the benefit is the low-cost for a first step on the sanitation ladder.

For others that are also working on new latrine designs, what are you doing in terms of testing the safety and durability of the new sanitation technology designs for rural and peri-urban communities before scale-up?

Rochelle Holm, Ph.D., PMP
Mzuzu University
Centre of Excellence in Water and Sanitation

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Re: Testing of new pit latrine designs? - Participatory design with corbelled pit latrines, Mzuzu University, Malawi

Dear Rochelle,

Interesting field note you posted here. Regarding testing before scaling up, perhaps you could speak to the people behind SaTo pan because they must have gone through a similar process. See e.g. here:
forum.susana.org/forum/categories/106-us...allation-of-sato-pan

Have you considered or tested the SaTo pan in your project yet?

Also, I wasn't quite sure what the new pit latrine design in your project is all about. From your field note, I copied this:

The SMART Centre then developed an easy-to-use
guideline for corbelled, burnt-brick latrine
construction. The manual includes site selection,
soil confirmation and a step-by-step guide to
construction. This manual has been successfully
used to train masons, government and nongovernment
partners in the safe construction of
corbelled latrines.


I had to look up what corbel means... Wikipedia says ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corbel ) "In architecture a corbel or console is a structural piece of stone, wood or metal jutting from a wall to carry a superincumbent weight, a type of bracket" although I don't know if this definition makes sense here? What is "corbelled"?

Is the corbelled structure mainly trying to address the problem of collapsing pits? How do you undo the bricks if the pit needs to be emptied? Where do you see its main application and benefits compared to conventional pit designs?

Kind regards,
Elisabeth

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Re: Testing of new pit latrine designs? - Participatory design with corbelled pit latrines, Mzuzu University, Malawi

Hello Elisabeth (and others),
As a reply, in Malawi, we have been working through participatory design to develop new pit latrine designs, for both rural and peri-urban areas.

To clarify, for others also developing new latrine designs, how are you testing the new designs in terms of safety and durability before scale-up? For example, we are doing load testing with a drum of water sitting on top of a test latrine for several weeks to mimic user weight. But, what else should we consider doing? Engineering tests will be difficult in Malawi, so testing procedures should be low tech and low cost.

Thanks in advance for your ideas.
Rochelle

Rochelle Holm, Ph.D., PMP
Mzuzu University
Centre of Excellence in Water and Sanitation
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Re: Testing of new pit latrine designs? - Participatory design with corbelled pit latrines, Mzuzu University, Malawi

Thanks, Rochelle. I hope others will answer your questions about the testing protocols for new pit latrine designs.

Meanwhile, could you please still address the questions I asked you in my post above? Thanks a lot.

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Re: Testing of new pit latrine designs? - Participatory design, corbelled pit latrines - Mzuzu University, Malawi

Dear Rochelle,

We posted your question on Knowledge Point:

For others that are also working on new latrine designs, what are you doing in terms of testing the safety and durability of the new sanitation technology designs for rural and peri-urban communities before scale-up?

and here are the answers we received from Bryan Reed and Rémi Kaupp(WaterAid):
knowledgepoint.org/en/questions/3447/tes...er=3459#post-id-3459

We hope they help you.

Regards,
Evelyn (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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Re: Testing of new pit latrine designs? - Participatory design, corbelled pit latrines - Mzuzu University, Malawi

Hello,
Thank you for passing along this question.

As a summary for others, when testing new pit latrine designs it was suggested to look at both structural standards and quality of the inputs (e.g. capacity of staff). Brian also pointed out "One way to move forward incrementally is to identify common failure mechanisms and address those. Erosion due to poor surface water management is a common error."

Thanks to Bryan Reed and Rémi Kaupp(WaterAid) and also Evelyn for looking into this issue.

Rochelle Holm, Ph.D., PMP
Mzuzu University
Centre of Excellence in Water and Sanitation
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Re: Testing of new pit latrine designs? - Participatory design, corbelled pit latrines - Mzuzu University, Malawi

Attached is our recent publication on this work.

Testing methods for new pit latrine designs in rural and peri-urban areas of Malawi where conventional testing is difficult to employ

R. C. G. Chidya, R. H. Holm, M. Tembo, B. Cole, P. Workneh and J. Kanyama
Environmental Science Water Research & Technology
DOI: 10.1039/c5ew00246j

Abstract
There is a trend towards participation of users in the design of appropriate sanitation facilities for low- income countries. However, testing the safety and durability of these technologies for rural and peri-urban communities is a challenge in low-income countries due to the lack of resources and access to conventional tests. This paper highlights testing methods used for pit latrine designs developed through participatory design approaches in Malawi. Two designs were tested with devised and/or conventional methods: (i) a corbelled pit latrine targeted for rural areas and (ii) an improved transitional pit latrine targeted for peri- urban areas. Devised testing methods proved to be useful and easy to implement by masons in the rural and peri-urban areas of Malawi. Novel pit latrine designs in Malawi require robust and innovative approaches to address the limited access to conventional tests. Both the conventional and devised testing methods demonstrated that the two designs have a satisfactory life-span and can support the users' load. The findings of this paper can be a model for the scale-up of integration of community ideas for participa- tory pit latrine design testing based in low-income countries where conventional testing is difficult to employ.

pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2.../unauth#!divAbstract

Rochelle Holm, Ph.D., PMP
Mzuzu University
Centre of Excellence in Water and Sanitation
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  • alexandra85
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Re: Testing of new pit latrine designs? - Participatory design with corbelled pit latrines, Mzuzu University, Malawi

Dear Rochelle,

could you please send me the link to the "step-by-step guide for the corbelled latrine construction". I am interested in finding low-cost (and locally available) solutions for collapsing pits, and I understand that the corbelled latrine could be an interesting option.

Thank you in advance
Alexandra

Alexandra Dubois

Technical Advisor
GIZ │Deutsche Gesellschaft für
Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH
Friedrich-Ebert-Allee 40
53113 Bonn, Allemagne

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  • rochelleholm
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Re: Testing of new pit latrine designs? - Participatory design with corbelled pit latrines, Mzuzu University, Malawi

Dear Alexandra,
We have found that simply handing over our manual doesn’t work well for the corbelled latrine, quality assurance is critical in this technology and hands-on training for masons.

But, we do offer a short course with a focus on building a corbelled pit latrine, and includes our art-based manual.

Low-cost sanitation (3 full days)
This is one of our most popular courses the past 5 years. The focus of this course will be low-cost sanitation in support of ending open defecation in rural areas of Malawi. A practical exercise will be included to build a corbelled latrine, suitable for households and being used throughout Malawi. There is an emphasis in this course on both equity and equality for sanitation access to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. The course will also cover basic principles of effective sanitation marketing programs. This hands-on course has a maximum of 25 participants. Participants should dress for field work. Fee per participant is MK150,000 (approximately USD$200). The venue is Mzuzu University, Malawi.

We do have a minimum of 8 participants to run a customized course whereby you could set the dates at your convenience. Or, we offer sessions open to the public once per year.

Rochelle Holm, Ph.D., PMP
Mzuzu University
Centre of Excellence in Water and Sanitation
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Re: Testing of new pit latrine designs? - Participatory design with corbelled pit latrines, Mzuzu University, Malawi

Thank you Rochelle

I understood (from some parallel discussions) that the corbelled latrine is in fact not suitable for unstable ground (such as sandy or loamy soil). You have directed me towards the technology of lining pits with sand bags and I will now look more towards this direction. If anyone (SuSanA members) has any type of material (construction, training, publication) to share with regards to the sand bag lining solution, please let me know.

All the best

Alexandra Dubois

Technical Advisor
GIZ │Deutsche Gesellschaft für
Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH
Friedrich-Ebert-Allee 40
53113 Bonn, Allemagne

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