Water Journal : Water Journal April 2012
international projects refereed paper technical features 130 APRIL 2012 water project involvement helps to eliminate surprises, jealousies, competition and power struggles. Many stakeholders will be wary of a new start-up organisation. Gaining the support of the community and working closely with your supporters helps to obtain broad stakeholder acceptance. • Spending considerable time in the field working side-by-side with the community is a key to respect and acceptance. Further, considerable energy is required to transfer skills and knowledge. It is important to acknowledge the education gap between rural populations and to work patiently and repetitively to facilitate personal growth over years (not days or weeks). Often program managers spend too much time in the office and not enough in the field -- creating status and class boundaries. Tapping into the wealth of keen and available skilled university trained volunteers is an excellent resource for achieving great results for minimal cost. The benefits of fostering the development of multiple new small businesses within rural communities with limited opportunity are significant. There is a greater need to promote growth of local micro economies as a stepping-stone for rural communities to improve their level of economic independence and to reduce their reliance (and expectation) on others for delivery of services. Governments and NGOs should consider the short- and long-term cost benefits of up-skilling and capacitating local communities. For example, a standard NGO budget for a new borehole is between US$10,000---US$15,000, with work completed by large contractors outside of rural communities. This is over five times more expensive than a MSABI water point, and the money is spent and exported outside of the local economy. Mechanisms should be explored that support value-for-money contract delivery. Currently there is a conflict of interest whereby many NGOs and government bodies retain 10%--15% of the value of a contract as an internal management fee -- thus favouring expensive infrastructure delivery programs. Attitudes in the NGO industry are shifting towards greater emphasis on budgeting for ongoing service and maintenance of assets. Local privatisation is a cost-effective and sustainable option that deserves investigation and investment by such institutions. Capacity building is a long process and sometimes not favoured by large funding agencies, due to the difficulty in proving tangible results within a funding cycle. The privatisation of water-point ownership and charging for water per usage was an existing practice prior to MSABI working in the Kilombero Valley. MSABI is creating safer, high quality water and sanitation options compared to open wells and pit latrines. MSABI believes that they are improving access to marginalised community members by increasing the availability of safe water at an affordable per bucket rate. Many cultural groups (such as the Maasai and Sukuma) are forced to live in remote areas far from village resources. MSABI has completed many water points in locations inaccessible by road (or drill truck). For example, we have drilled boreholes 27km from the nearest road, using tricycles to transport equipment. The uptake of ecosan compost technology is constrained by the willingness of the local communities to change their toilet behaviour (and the power/tools used by NGOs to facilitate change). The villages in the Kilombero Valley can be considered open defecation-free. Common practice involves pit latrines and washing with water. There is a preference for upgrading to pour-flush technology. This is one behavioural challenge, as compost toilets function successfully as a dry system. MSABI can meet pour-flush demands as we have successfully modified the compost sub-structure design for a septic system. The real challenge comes when trying to stimulate the community into wanting to convert their existing pit latrines to environmentally safer technologies. This is something with which MSABI has made little ingress so far, and which we have identified as an area requiring greater capacity input. The subsidised price is comparable to a locally produced pit latrine with brick structure; however, MSABI build quality is considered superior. MSABI will investigate offering more affordable baseline sanitation designs in 2012 (various superstructure options). Still, current demand for private compost latrines is strong and we believe households are motivated by status, comfort and long-term value. After a six-month trial, MSABI found problems with owners using toilets for showers and wash water flooding the compost pits. Instead of asking users to stop showering, it was decided to promote the use of showering and divert wash water. This involved a design modification of a separate drain to a gravel filter. An interesting result was the preference for squat plates over sit-down toilets. 'First adopters' asked for sit-down toilets; however, after three months all users asked for a return to squat plates. Further community participatory methods are required to involve the wider community to explore new options for uptake of environmentally safe latrines. The use of compost and urine for cash crops has yet to be demonstrated. There is concern by the local population over handling and safety. MSABI has laboratory access to test for the presence of viable helminth eggs, protozoa and pathogenic bacteria and will do this prior to promoting use. Further trials are to be conducted to evaluate the potential of burning maturated compost (in situ in the compost chamber) as a sterilisation mechanism. Each split chamber is designed to store >1 year of compost. The first compost should be ready Figure 5. MSABI assisted a women's pottery group to construct a kiln.
Water Journal May 2012
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