Solutions for pit desludging and sludge management in low income urban settlements in Malawi (Mzuzu University) - and policy issues

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Re: Fecal Sludge Management Urban Policy

I am a Master of Science student at Mzuzu University in Malawi and I will be doing research for the Water Research Commission (WRC) funded project on Research on Solutions for Pit Desludging and Subsequent Sludge Management in low income urban areas in Malawi. The main focus of my research study will be development of a Fecal Sludge Management (FSM) Policy for the City Council. As a country, Malawi has a sanitation policy which addresses a lot of issues that are aimed at improving sanitation, hygiene promotion and recycling of waste in cities, municipalities, towns, market centers and peri-urban areas with the goal of achieving universal access to improved sanitation and safe hygiene and proper management of waste to protect the environment. This policy provides general guidelines hence cannot be used to address specific issues that arise from the different cities and towns in Malawi. FSM is however not addressed.
At the moment, there is no policy in Malawi that looks at FSM in the peri-urban areas of our cities which makes the process of pit emptying, transportation, disposal and treatment of fecal sludge unregulated hence posing a great risk to man and the environment. I would therefore appreciate if you could assist me with copies of FSM policies that you have come across for other cities in Africa or Asia specifically and possibly advise me on the proper way of developing one.
I will greatly appreciate the assistance and support that you will render to me.

Daniel Nyirenda.
Daniel Nyirenda
WASH Project Officer/ MSc in Sanitation Student
Mzuzu University
Mzuzu.

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  • rochelleholm
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Re: Solutions for pit desludging and subsequent sludge management in low income urban settlements in Malawi (Mzuzu University)

The moderator has asked me to summarize the recent National Malawi Policy review on FSM under the WRC project.

Malawi has a reasonable share of legislation, policies, standards and norms towards the improvement in the delivery of sanitation and hygiene services. The key local and national Malawian water and sanitation and hygiene promotion regulations include:
• The 2008 National Sanitation Policy
• The 2005 National Water Policy
• The 2004 National Environmental Policy
• First and second phases of the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy
• National Water Development Programme (NWDP)
• Water Resources Act
• District Level Policy

While there appears to be overall national (Malawi) fecal/pit sludge management policies supporting pit desludging and subsequent sludge management in Malawi, but there are no specific references to fecal/pit sludge management. Local polices for or against fecal/pit sludge management are also not available. This is still a new topic owing continued attention for continuous improvement and updating of local and national policy is assured to cover this topic in the years to come.

There are plenty of government documents in Malawi about water & sanitation but none on pit emptying and sludge management. Traditionally, the pits were not emptied in peri-urban or urban areas and instead a new pit was dug.

In regards to the other work at the Centre. The Centre has received funding and material support from donors and private sector organizations to implement a number of projects, including short courses, training, applied research and program planning and coordination. In particular, WASTE has provided the Centre with substantial funding for applied research, short courses in sustainable school sanitation and the Sanitation in Peri Urban Area (SPA) program. As a consortium member of SPA, the Centre works alongside major public and private organizations involved in the WASH sector such as CCAP Synod of Livingstonia, UN-Habitat, WASTE, Water for People, Opportunity International Bank of Malawi (OIBM), the Mzuzu City Council, the Mzimba North District Health Office (DHO), PumpAid, Water Aid, Coyida, CCODE, Concern Universal, the WRC, Water Boards, as well as local entrepreneurs.
Rochelle Holm, Ph.D., PMP
Mzuzu (Malawi)
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Re: Solutions for pit desludging and subsequent sludge management in low income urban settlements in Malawi (Mzuzu University)

Hello-
Thanks much for the continued discussion.

Mzuzu University, located in northern Malawi, was established by an Act of Parliament in May 1997 and admitted its first students in January 1999. In 2009, the Mzuzu University Centre of Excellence in Water and Sanitation was established within the Faculty of Environmental Sciences. The Centre oversees African water and sanitation research, which is networking regional water and sanitation work and also training of professionals through Mzuzu University. The primary objective of the Centre is to improve the effectiveness of sanitation, hygiene practices, and water supply interventions serving Malawi and the surrounding countries. The Centre participates in applied research, water quality analysis, training, consultancies, outreach programs, and the practical application of research findings. Mzuzu University offers 21 undergraduate programmes for generic and upgrading students and 9 postgraduate programmes. In 2013, programmes for PhD and Master’s in Sanitation were added.

As an extension of the Centre of Excellence in Water and Sanitation, there now is a so called SMART Centre with demonstration of a range of low cost technologies and capacity to train local entrepreneurs in water and sanitation technologies with a focus on ‘self supply’. Training also includes business skills, linking them and their customers to micro-financing institutions. The SMART Centre work is under the work of the Centre of Excellence in Water and Sanitation. To learn more about the SMART Centre visit www.mzuzusmartcentre.com/.

Hope this can be of help, please let me know if anything further.
Rochelle Holm, Ph.D., PMP
Mzuzu (Malawi)

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Re: Solutions for pit desludging and subsequent sludge management in low income urban settlements in Malawi (Mzuzu University)

Dear Rochelle,

Thanks for keeping us updated about the progress of your research project. Please keep the information coming.

Could you please attach the report that you mentioned in your post from 1 Feb.? If not the whole report, what were the main conclusions? Did I understand right that there are plenty of government documents in Malawi about water & sanitation but none on pit emptying and sludge management? How can that be? Is that because traditionally, the pits were not emptied?

I also have some questions about your organisation. I had a look around your website and blog:
www.mzuzusmartcentre.com/index.html

On your website, I mainly see only some rural water projects but little on sanitation. Is your organisation relatively young? I also don't understand what your connection to the university is (you are called Mzuzu University Centre) - how big is that university and where is it? Oh, OK, good old Google led me to this website: www.mzuni.ac.mw/index.php?option=com_con...w=frontpage&Itemid=1 - so it's still a young university). Wikipedia told me:

Mzuzu (formerly called Kaningina) is the capital of Malawi's Northern Region and is the third largest city, by population, in Malawi. The City has 128,432 residents plus 20,000 commuters (Mzuzu University students) with about 1.7 million people living around the outskirts of the city.[1] It is situated in Mzimba District, in the center of an agricultural region, and the area surrounding the city specializes in tea, rubber, and coffee cultivation.[2] The Viphya Forest to the south of the city is the largest man-made forest in Africa.[3]


But still my question is how exactly is your centre linked to that university?

And I see that you seem to have a Dutch connection, because you are listing as partners for your centre Aqua for All and Akvodia:
www.mzuzusmartcentre.com/aboutus.html

Finally, if you don't mind me asking, how does a lady from the UK (just guessing?) end up running a centre in Malawi? Are you perhaps seconded or on some special funding arrangement? Or have you perhaps already lived in Malawi a long time?

I think these things will help us to understand better the set-up of your centre and what it's trying to do in the longer term with regards to sanitation issues.

Thanks in advance for answering my questions.

Regards,
Elisabeth
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Freelance consultant on environmental and climate projects
Located in Ulm, Germany
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
My Wikipedia user profile: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:EMsmile
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/elisabethvonmuench/

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  • rochelleholm
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Re: Solutions for pit desludging and subsequent sludge management in low income urban settlements in Malawi (Mzuzu University)

Mzuzu University Centre of Excellence in Water and Sanitation, located in northern Malawi, would like to extend an invitation as a site for field testing of innovative tools and techniques for the emptying, transport and treatment of pit sludge.

The Centre is particularity well suited for self-funded graduate students or experienced researchers looking for a site to perform field testing on local pit latrines over several weeks to months.

The Centre owns both a sludge pump and pressure washer for pit emptying.

We will also soon be working with North Carolina State University on testing of an improved prototype screw auger.
(see here for details: forum.susana.org/forum/categories/99-fae...usa-and-south-africa)
Rochelle Holm, Ph.D., PMP
Mzuzu (Malawi)

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Re: Solutions for pit desludging and subsequent sludge management in low income urban settlements in Malawi (Mzuzu University)

The project recently submitted a report to the Water Research Commission reviewing local and national fecal/pit sludge management policies in the area of investigation for the project on Research on Solutions for Pit Desludging and Subsequent Sludge Management in low income urban areas in Malawi.

Malawi has a reasonable share of legislation, policies, standards and norms towards the improvement in the delivery of sanitation and hygiene services. The key local and national Malawian water and sanitation and hygiene promotion regulations include:
• The 2008 National Sanitation Policy
• The 2005 National Water Policy
• The 2004 National Environmental Policy
• First and second phases of the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy
• National Water Development Programme (NWDP)
• Water Resources Act
• District Level Policy

While there appears to be overall national (Malawi) fecal/pit sludge management policies supporting pit desludging and subsequent sludge management in Malawi, but there are no specific references to fecal/pit sludge management. Local polices for or against fecal/pit sludge management are also not available. This is still a new topic owing continued attention for continuous improvement and updating of local and national policy is assured to cover this topic in the years to come.

Some of the key references included:

Malawi Government. (2004). Environmental Affairs Department, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs. National Environmental Policy. Government Printing Press, Zomba.
Malawi Government. (2005). Ministry of Irrigation and Water Development, National Water Policy. Lilongwe, Malawi: Ministry of Irrigation and Water Development.
Malawi Government. (2008). Ministry of Irrigation and Water Development, National Sanitation Policy. Lilongwe, Malawi: Ministry of Irrigation and Water Development.
Malawi Government. (2012a). Malawi Growth and Development Strategy II, Capital Printing Press, Lilongwe.
Malawi Government, Ministry of Irrigation and Water Development National Water Development Programme. (2011). Environmental and social management framework, Capital Printing Press, Lilongwe.
Rochelle Holm, Ph.D., PMP
Mzuzu (Malawi)

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Solutions for pit desludging and sludge management in low income urban settlements in Malawi (Mzuzu University) - and policy issues

Dear all,

My research project is one of 10 which is funded indirectly by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, through a grant made to WRC in South Africa who is managing the "Sanitation Research Fund for Africa" (SRFA) which is explained here:
forum.susana.org/forum/categories/99-fae...pit-emptying-updates

Over the next few months, we will all present to your our research projects, which have recently started. We would be grateful for an exchange of information/thoughts/ideas.

Title of project:
Solutions For Pit Desludging And Subsequent Sludge Management In Low Income Urban Settlements in Malawi

Name of lead organization: Mzuzu University Centre of Excellence in Water and Sanitation: www.mzuzusmartcentre.co​m/
Primary contact at lead organization: Dr. Rochelle Holm
Grantee location: Mzuzu, Malawi
Goal(s):
Develop recommendations of desludging tools for pit desludging and subsequent sludge management in low income urban settlements in Malawi through field testing
Objectives: Analyze and understand pit desludging and subsequent sludge management in low income urban settlements
Start and end date: 1 July 2013 to 31 December 2015
Grant type: funded by the WRC through a grant from BMGF

Short description of the project:
Methods currently used for fecal disposal in Malawi are very limited, and the private sector participating in improved methods is especially limited. The most common practice is use of pit latrines, which are abandoned when full followed by building a new latrine. However, that poses a unique concern due to the high-density nature of many peri-urban areas with limited land area available. Proper fecal disposal allows both a benefit to human health in the management of waste and protection for the environment. The research team will field test a variety of desludging tools, some of which will be recommended by the Reference Group members.

Methodology:
The methodology will be similar to the work performed by Dave Still which is available in this report:
Still, D., Foxon, K., O’Riordan, M. (2012). Tackling the challenges of full pit latrines - Volumes 3: The development of pit emptying technologies. WRC Report No. 1745/1/12, Water Research Commission, South Africa. susana.org/lang-en/library?view=ccbktypeitem&type=2&id=1712

My group has already been using a device in the study area. However, the money from the WRC will be able to add scientific value: cost analysis per pit, how much can be emptied, ease of emptying, some pit sludge analysis (water & solids content). There are also many new emptying technologies that have been developed since that WRC report. I have been introduced to other WRC and BMGF grantees doing this work, such as North Carolina University who have a grant to field test new augers (see here: forum.susana.org/forum/categories/99-fae...usa-and-south-africa).

We shall receive the designs for manual emptiers for field testing; my group has good know-how in building different gadgets.

David Still’s work was conducted from a localised area with different social settings. The scientific community as whole needs to see these devices tested in different areas. In Dave’s work, garbage was a big problem. I am not sure if we will have some problem or not.

Results, publications, links:

Updated on 22 April 2017:

There are a number of threads here on the forum where results are posted:

Pit Latrine Fecal Sludge Resistance Using a Dynamic Cone Penetrometer in Low Income Areas in Mzuzu City, Malawi
forum.susana.org/component/kunena/214-va...-in-mzuzu-city-malaw

Designing local solutions for emptying pit latrines in low-income urban settlements (Malawi)
forum.susana.org/component/kunena/99-fae...ty-and-policy-issues

Characterization of pit latrines to support design and selection of emptying tools in peri-urban Mzuzu, Malawi.
forum.susana.org/component/kunena/214-va...i-urban-mzuzu-malawi

Current state of affairs:

We are in the process of completing the first deliverable which looks at pit emptying policies in Malawi and targeted regions, if any. How are pit emptied in the region, how is it disposed, challenges? The other groups in the SRFA scheme are also doing the same. The due date is end of this month.

Final Report:
This would be freely available to download from WRC website (Knowledge Hub), and also from Susana. As with other WRC reports, hard copies will also be distributed.

Our centre's website:
www.mzuzusmartcentre.com/

Rochelle Holm, Ph.D., PMP
Mzuzu (Malawi)
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