U-ACT Project by ETH Nadel, Sandec and Makerere University (urban affordable, clean toilets - Kampala, Uganda)

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  • luethich
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U-ACT Project by ETH Nadel, Sandec and Makerere University (urban affordable, clean toilets - Kampala, Uganda)

The U-ACT (urban affordable, clean toilets) Project is funded as part of the SPLASH consortium *, carrying out research on all aspects of the sanitation chain. U-ACT aims to better understand constraints to private sanitation investment and public sanitation maintenance. In the past 2 years, we have empirically tested various interventions in randomized controlled trials (RCT). U-ACT is active in the low-income areas of Uganda’s capital, Kampala, a setting which is representative of many urban centers in sub-Saharan Africa. A closing workshop on lessons learned will be held in April 2014 in Zurich, Switzerland.

The U-ACT project partners have been and will continue to share the results of their research activities not only through “traditional” scientific publications and conferences, but also through policy briefs, videos, websites, exhibitions and various workshops relevant for policy makers, to transfer research into policies. Some recent findings, videos and policy briefs can be found here:
www.nadel.ethz.ch/forschung/u-act

In Oct. 2013 U-ACT was awarded with the Best Practice Award 2013 of the Poverty Reduction, Equity and Growth Network.


* For explanation about SPLASH see here on the forum: forum.susana.org/forum/categories/97-ena...-cameroon-mozambique
> Research focus: the validation of multi-stakeholder planning and programming approaches and the development of planning tools for urban infrastructure in unserved areas. My specific research interests are urban strategic sanitation planning, servicing unplanned urban and peri-urban areas, and multi-stakeholder planning and programming.
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  • christoph
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Re: U-ACT Project by ETH Nadel, Sandec and Makerere University

Hi Christoph,
thanks for that post. Very interesting. It would be nice to have more access to other publications of your group.

I would like to discuss some aspects which came to my mind while reading the papers.
a) A cost aspect. The publication linked at your site
http://www.nadel.ethz.ch/forschung/Ventilated_Latrine_Slum_Kampala.pdf
you indicate about 1000 U$ for a toilet, this is quite high, but probably has its origin in the lined pit which is quite expensive (I know construction cost in Uganda are horrible). Did you compare with other technologies (UDDT Double vault)? I always though that this might be a more appropriate technology for the situation in Kampala.
Even getting down the price for the user by different ways of financing / subsidy, the “result” you get might not be the best, as the “want to have” factor for a toilet which looks like this





We did recently a visit with the german embassy to the toilets we implanted two years ago.
Today the toilets look like this




The users stated that their life has changed after buying this toilet (about 30% of the total costs) – some mentioned that kids like this place the best in their house.
A picture of the general area can be seen here.




To come to my point. The total costs of the shown toilet are about the same as you mention.
The people are willing to pay 30%.

Did you study the influence of the total design? – making the toilet an “object of desire” – as an upgrade of your home or just money you have to spend to be able to do your needs?
The idea is not new, so I am pretty sure you have thought about these aspects – could you (somebody of your group) comment?
I did not see any results about the study of the 1.200 offered toilets – has the study been published and could you upload some conclusions?
I would like to know which model of payment has been accepted? Until what sum the people are willing to pay? Did you try out (maybe in other studies) a more “sophisticated” toilet (as in the picture I posted from Lima) approach to compare the change in perception (object of desire instead of basic need)?

b) I really appreciated the study “When is shared sanitation improved sanitation?”
The heart of the study was this diagram




I found it especially interesting, that the own perspective of the people - what is dirty - is very different when it comes to a household level (dark green in comparison to light green), although the third party evaluation did not indicate a large difference in the range of 1 – 4 households. The answer to the question is an objective subjective conclusion which I found very logical and I think it should be widely used.

Thank you very much for bringing into attention the studies. Very interesting indeed.

Yours Christoph
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  • ahorst
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Re: U-ACT Project by ETH Nadel, Sandec and Makerere University

Dear Christoph,

thank you for your interest in the U-ACT project and your comments.
Regarding your question on more publications: We are planning to have a third policy brief that will look at the impact of different price and financing mechanisms on households' sanitation investment, based on the results of the randomized controlled trial we conducted in Kampala. We are hoping to publish that brief and upload it on our website latest in the second quarter of 2014.

Another colleague will answer your questions regarding the technology choice that we took in favor of VIP latrines for this project.

Best,

Alexandra
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  • cniwagaba
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Re: U-ACT Project by ETH Nadel, Sandec and Makerere University

Dear ALL,

This is really excellent discussion of the U-ACT project. I think it is an innovative project that has brought out a lot of new ideas and understanding in the cut-off point of when can 'shared' become improved sanitation and I really think, also, that the policy brief on financing will provide an additional 'cutting' edge information that is very much needed in this subject.

Regarding the choice of the technology - Indeed, there are many different types of sanitation technology options we would have chosen but we decided to go for the improved pit latrine, otherwise, referred to as the VIP. I agree entirely about the discussion and points contributed, that led to the high cost - material costs in Uganda 'horrible', but also, the fact that al latrines were lined over a 3 m depth in order not to contaminate ground water.

Regarding the choice of technology - there is evidence that urine diversion dry toilet are unlikely to succeed in areas of transient communities, a situation common in slum areas. For UDDT, there is need for knowledge about the systems as they are different from the systems people have been used to. In transient communities, you have to provide sensitization and education to the new users and this has to be continuous. In some cases, even if you educated the users, then they get a visitor from the village who will be a new user, and they have to explain how to use a toilet....etc, and yet we know that some people are not comfortable about discussing toilet usage etc etc. SO, we needed to provide a toilet system, which is not totally foreighn to the community, a toilet which will not demand too much additional tasks of sensitization and education etc. Of course, we could have thought of pour flush toilets, flush toilets or other high quality toilets, but they would need water to use and operate, they would be expensive etc. Further, we needed people to pay a cost of the toilet. So, we had to provide people with a toilet as cheap as possible, which they could afford to pay the fraction needed, but which also, is easier to use. And hence the reason for selecting a VIP. In fact, if a VIP is properly built and used, it will not smell and will offer a high level of sanitation and hygiene, to the level that is not too far away from that offered by flush toilets.

Over to you all,

C. Niwagaba
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  • christoph
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Re: U-ACT Project by ETH Nadel, Sandec and Makerere University (urban affordable, clean toilets - Kampala, Uganda)

Dear U-ACT Team,
thanks for your answers about the project, you are carrying out a great project and it is very promising in respect to better understanding of the system (not technical system).

For sure the results of the discussion of the financing models will be very interesting.
Please clarify one point. I know about the problems of large fluctuations in the settlement in Kampala, but as I understood as the people finance the toilet, in these cases the toilet could have a more “permanent user”. So it is a model which sells the toilets to the landlords? Which would be a very different condition from what I automatically thought (user = owner). I think it is much harder to “sell” toilets do landlords as to the direct user (we discussed that point in another post).

Concerning “there is evidence that urine diversion dry toilet are unlikely to succeed in areas of transient communities, a situation common in slum areas.”
I really would like to know more about that evidence – I think we have to be careful in drawing conclusions that something does not work under such and such conditions, as you as well pointed out – the sensitization and education is very important.
UDDT for me definitely are no possibilities for use in more than 1 family situations or they have to be for a public toilet with a caretaker. But I think your photo evaluation shows that this is a point for every public toilet.

Here in Lima we feel a very strong change. 2 years ago we still had to explain in detail functioning of UDDT – this week we gave a sanitation technologies course and all professionals already knew about the technology. As well in the settlements. The people in the area we build the toilets two years ago (who do not have the toilet), they know exactly what they want and about the characteristics (and we are talking about 100 toilets in an area with more than 10.000 families (closer area). I am sure the knowledge will spread rapidly and in some years it is just “the other type of toilet”.

Yours Christoph
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  • donahupa
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Re: FaME and U-ACT video now available with French subtitles!

The FaME and U-ACT video is now available with French subtitles. It highlights FaME and U-ACT research on finding solutions to the global issues of access to clean toilets and to complete sanitation. The video can be seen at: www.facebook.com/Sandec .


Paul Donahue
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  • donahupa
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Re: U-ACT Project by ETH Nadel, Sandec and Makerere University (urban affordable, clean toilets - Kampala, Uganda)

The short version of the FaME and U-ACT video with French subtitles can be seen on Sandec’s YouTube channel. It deals with research on increasing access to clean toilets and improving resource recovery from faecal sludge. These pressing, global issues are being discussed at FSM3 in Hanoi, the international conference on faecal sludge management. To watch the video, go to: goo.gl/AOqmjw .

Paul Donahue
Editor/Communication Specialist
Eawag-Sandec
Überlandstrasse 133
8600 Dübendorf
Schweiz
Telefon +41 58 765 5059
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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