Documentation and Evaluation of EcoSan Experiences in Uganda
Niwagaba, Charles B.
Asiimwe, Florence Akiiki
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Ecological sanitation (ecosan) was introduced in Uganda as an alternative sanitation system that could solve the problems of traditional means of human excreta management namely difficult soils (rocky as well areas with high water table), need for digging new pits which is expensive and sometimes there may not be enough land for digging new pits in the case of pit latrines; high initial cost as well as high operation and maintenance costs in the case of water borne systems; and potential for contamination of ground water by both systems. Examples depicting the extent of the problem of traditional sanitation systems were twofold. The first was the 1997 hydro-geological study which showed that the veins of the Chuho water source were passing beneath the Kisoro town, suggesting a serious health risk of pit latrines in the town. The other was the difficulty of constructing pit latrines in Muhanga trading center where most toilets were collapsing due to high water table and unstable soils. Against this background, the Directorate of Water Development (DWD) started constructing ecosan toilets under the South Western Towns Water and Sanitation (SWTWS) Project, a Government of Uganda (GoU) project co-funded by the governments of Uganda and Austria. At the beginning, attempts to introduce ecosan toilets were met with resistance as people felt it was unheard of to re-use human excreta. The very first ecosan toilets were of the composting type. These were inappropriately operated since they resembled ordinary pit latrines and people did not understand and follow the correct procedures of adding carbon bulking materials. Consequently, the toilets were abandoned in favour of urine diverting dehydration toilets. In addition to Austria Government, more other donors namely Sida and DFID are now supporting ecosan activities in Uganda. Over the last 3 years, DWD hly that there are approximately 5000 ecosan toilets in Uganda. This study ‘the documentation and evaluation of ecosan experiences in Uganda’ was commissioned by DWD. The objective of this study was to collect, document and evaluate people’s experiences on ecosan; and to use that information to come up with preliminary do’s and don’t’s in ecosan implementation in Uganda. The study was performed in twelve (12) districts in Uganda namely, Kisoro, Kabale, Ntungamo, Rukungiri, Bushenyi, Mbarara, Masaka, Rakai, Wakiso, Mpigi, Soroti and Arua.
- Natural Sciences