Reseach Topic Assistance - Otji toilets (UDDTs) in Namibia

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  • Maria123
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Re: Article in The Namibian newspaper: Communities unhappy with dry toilet project

I don't want to get too technical either, the research is for a degree level only. Since Im still considering the same research area for my Master then that is were I will be needing to get more technical.

So for now I will try to read as much as I can and If I'm to get stucked along the way then I'll let you know.

I will keep you all updated. Since I'm not only here to gain but to also share.

Greetings
Maria :-)

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  • Elisabeth
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Re: Article in The Namibian newspaper: Communities unhappy with dry toilet project

You sound very committed, Maria, that's excellent. I am sure you will do a very nice research project. :-)

If I had to pose a research question it would be "what is hampering the upscaling of Otji toilets in Namibia?" - rather than looking at some fine technical details of the toilet...

Perhaps you could even team up with a second student and do it as a tandem: one to look at technical aspects, one to look at policy and institutional aspects.

This paper asked the same question for the case of Omaruru:

Ingle, R., Berdau, S., Kleemann, F., Arndt, P. (2012). What does it take to convince decision makers in Omaruru, Namibia to scale up urine diversion dehydration “Otji toilets”?. 4th International Dry Toilet Conference, Tampere, Finland

www.susana.org/en/resources/library/details/1608

One hyphothesis I have is that the money (grants) from the European Union that seems to be available is always promising flush toilets and sewer systems "soon" so people rather hope for that than go for the simpler and cheaper Otji toilets. Could that be a factor or do I have completely the wrong idea?

Cheers,
Elisabeth
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
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Re: Article in The Namibian newspaper: Communities unhappy with dry toilet project

[Start of Page 2 of the discussion thread]

Dear Chris

You have given me very interesting ideas regarding my research.
The Research will only be conducted next year, for now I'm just reviewing some literature and getting ideas so that I don't spend much time on this next year hence as they say "the early bird catches the biggest worm.

I've already made arrangements regarding the laboratory, so that is now sorted.

This is really helping a lot. I now have a broad vision of my research.

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  • canaday
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Re: Article in The Namibian newspaper: Communities unhappy with dry toilet project

Dear Maria,

You would not need a full laboratory. It should be enough to have a microscope (and maybe a centrifuge, depending on the protocol) to look for Ascaris eggs, so maybe there is a Malaria lab or a university that can give you access to a microscope. I think we should optimally work out a protocol that only requires a microscope, as discussed here:
forum.susana.org/forum/categories/26-hea...ce-a-better-way#8176

If the users do not have Ascaris parasitic worms, small envelopes of mesh with feces known to have Ascaris could be added to the toilet, to later be checked.

I would like to mention that there are less expensive dry toilets than Otji Toilets, for example those on my blog, inodoroseco.blogspot.com. Optimally each family should have their own toilet.

Other things you could look at include:
-- How well the urine-separating groove works that was added to the Otji toilet pedestals.
-- User acceptance of UDDTs.
-- Factors why some people do open defecation.
-- Effectiveness of Otji Toilets in avoiding fly reproduction without cover material. (Am I correct that no cover material is used?).
-- Fertilization of crop plants with urine and/or decomposed feces (and percentages of dilution of urine with domestic greywater).
-- Immediate distribution of urine within the soil, via buried perforated hoses (potentially mixed with greywater) and the fruit trees and other crops that best take advantage of this.

It is great that you are doing your project on this. Please let us know how things go and your results.

Best wishes,
Chris Canaday


[End of Page 1 of the discussion thread]
Conservation Biologist and EcoSan Promoter
Omaere Ethnobotanical Park
Puyo, Pastaza, Ecuador, South America
inodoroseco.blogspot.com

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Re: Article in The Namibian newspaper: Communities unhappy with dry toilet project

Dear Harold

The dry system is used in poor communities, areas where flush-toilets will be too expensive. The Otji-Toilets are mostly found in the south of Namibia and the rural areas around the Otjiwarongo District.

I hope I have answered your question.

Greetings
Maria

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Re: Reseach Topic Assistance - Otji toilets (UDDTs) in Namibia

The institution does have laboratories but the problem is that they are not in the same area. The research area will be in the south of Namibia while the institution is in the center of the country.

It will be quiet costly having to travel back and forth because I didn't receive any funding for my research yet. However it would be interesting though to find out how well it deals with watery diarrhea.

I have visited some of the Otji-Toilet in the south and something I have picked up is that the users are responsible for disposing off the human waste but they are not provided with any area that is designed for that purpose.

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  • JKMakowka
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Re: Reseach Topic Assistance - Otji toilets (UDDTs) in Namibia

I see that this got already move to the topic we discussed the Otji toilets before.

Does your University have laboratory facilities you can use to test for example faecal bacteria contamination in the diverted urine? Might be interesting to see how well the system deals with watery diarrhoea and what extra precautions might be necessary before applying the urine as fertilizer then.

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Re: Reseach Topic Assistance - Otji toilets (UDDTs) in Namibia

I'm a 3rd year student at the Polytechnic of Namibia. Studying towards a Bachelor's Degree in Environmental Health Science.



Next year will be my final year and I will be required to conduct a research in any area relevant to my field of study. I've chosen to focus on water and sanitation in Namibia as that is where I have identified a gab in most of the rural areas. My main focus being on the Otji-Toilets which are recommended for most poor communities in the south of Namibia.



I know what I want to research on but I'm finding it difficult to come up with a topic for my research.


Suggestions on any researchable topic that has to do with sanitation are highly welcomed.

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Re: Article in The Namibian newspaper: Communities unhappy with dry toilet project

Reading between the lines this seams to be a case of badly constructed dry toilets (rainwater can enter), done by uninterested bureaucrats ("communities need to change mindset"), and last but not least overloading of the systems due to public use.

I think especially the last part seems relevant (also to answer the smell issue). These seem to be more or less public toilets (I derive that from the overall numbers and the cleaning issues), and even assumed that everyone uses them correctly and no urine enter the faeces chamber, the moisture will be still too high as the faecal mass has not sufficient time to dry before the drums fills up.
Edit: the less certain urine division in that Otji system (as nice as it seems) probably adds to the amount of moisture also.

But I also don't get the entire point of this construction project... it seems ill considered from the very start, just dropping a few toilets somewhere in the countryside :(

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  • Elisabeth
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Re: Article in The Namibian newspaper: Communities unhappy with dry toilet project

This article about problems with dry toilets in Namibia is quite interesting, even though it is rather vague and raises more questions for me than it answers:

www.namibian.com.na/indexx.php?id=16820&...detail&category_id=1

Communities unhappy with dry toilet project

By Theresia Tjihenuna, Ndanki Kahiurika

GOVERNMENT’S plan to construct over 6 500 dry pit-latrine toilets across the country has been greeted with little appreciation from rural community members who stand to benefit, calling the system inferior.


It is not totally clear if all the dry toilets mentioned in this article are Otji toilets but I think at least some of them are. Otji toilets are actually working like UDDTs (urine-diverting dry toilets). See also here on the forum:
forum.susana.org/forum/categories/34-uri...-for-the-otji-toilet

The article says:

Community members in Windhoek’s informal settlements such as Havana and Okahandaja Park also raised concerns over the smell emanating from the dry toilets, especially once the drums are full.


I find this strange because once the drums are full they should be emptied, so full drums should only be there for a day or less. It seems to indicate that once again we have a problem with the maintenance and the faeces drums are not being emptied?

Interesting are also the statements by Kamal Kar quoted in this article:

During his visit to Namibia in April this year, international toilet and sanitation expert Kamal Kar, after interacting with various communities using the system, indicated that the dry toilet system may not be the best option for rural communities.

Kar said that there was a need to explore other options that might be more suited for informal and rural communities, such as Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS), which is based on the belief that simply providing toilets does not guarantee their use, or result in improved sanitation and hygiene, unless coupled with good hygienic practices in respect of hygiene.

“Communities with flushing toilets seem to be more functional compared to those with dry toilet systems,” Kar said during his observations at Okahandja Park and Havanna settlements. He said although the initiative by government to improve the community’s living conditions in terms of sanitation is good, there was need to involve the community in the decision-making process.

“The dry toilet system does not function well for a number of reasons, especially the smell. Dry toilet systems are only sustainable in that they save water,” he said.


Whether or not he was quoted correctly by the journalist, I am not sure. I would find such sweeping statements by him a bit strange - maybe the journalist exaggerated them a bit. Or maybe Kamal Kar advocated CLTS followed by building of pour flush toilets?

Anyhow, would be interesting to hear from people who know a bit more about the situation with sanitation, open defecation, behaviour change and dry toilets in Namibia?

Regards,
Elisabeth
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
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Re: Waterless toilets for informal settlements in Namibia

Dear Harold,

Nobody answered your question yet, probably because you didn't introduce yourself... Please tell us more about your work.

If you are in Namibia then you must know the Otji toilets which are a variant of the urine-diverting dry toilets (UDDTs).

We have a nice SuSanA case study here with many useful links at the back:
susana.org/lang-en/case-studies?view=ccb...eitem&type=2&id=1186

Or see: www.susana.org/library?search=Otji

Some photos for illustration (see more here: www.flickr.com/search/?w=23116228@N07&q=otji)

File Attachment:

Urine-diverting dry toilet at a Kindergarten in Omaruru, Namibia (also called Otji toilet there) (high resolution photo) by Sustainable sanitation , on Flickr

File Attachment:

Otji toilets in "Carter work project " by Sustainable sanitation , on Flickr

File Attachment:

Faeces check by Sustainable sanitation , on Flickr

File Attachment:

Inside the toilet with open lid by Sustainable sanitation , on Flickr

File Attachment:

Proud owner II by Sustainable sanitation , on Flickr

And then there is also a research project in Namibia funded by the German government called Cuve Waters. It is probably not so relevant for you, because it is pretty high tech:

www.cuvewaters.net/Sanitation-and-water-reuse.21.0.html

Has this information helped you?
As I said, please tell us more about your work.

Regards,
Elisabeth
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
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  • Guiobhe
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Re: Article in The Namibian newspaper: Communities unhappy with dry toilet project

Hallo Prof,

I am writing from Namibia. I come from community development background. Could you please refer me to examples where waterless toilets are in use in informal settlements.

Harold

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