AFRICA - Mozambique, Nigeria, Sierra ...

The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board: Humanure Composting Around the World: AFRICA - Mozambique, Nigeria, Sierra Leone
Author: Ecointerest (Ecointerest)
Tuesday, May 12, 2009 - 6:16 am
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Here are a couple of ideas, which come "straight off the top of my head..." don't know for sure how it would work out in practise, but suggest they could work.
1. Build up a mound of soil, so excess water will run away from around the compost pile and prevent it being inundated. You could probably get the base of the pile about 1/2 metre above the normal ground level, yet still find it fairly easy to walk up and empty your bucket onto the heap.
2. Using the familiar methods of building huts (a sort of thatched roof), construct a canopy over the compost heap, to deflect rain water away. Keep the sides of this canopy open; you don't want to have the compost pile inside a hut.
Wishing you and all your team success in this project.

Author: Joe (Joe)
Saturday, May 09, 2009 - 12:28 pm
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From email: Iím interested in using a humanure toilet in Sierra Leone, West Africa. But how will the composting be affected by the alternating dry and rainy seasons? Over 45 inches of rain falls during July. There is a lot of literature on shallow pit Eco San systems, but mostly in south and east Africa. What adaptations need to be made for the humanure toilet and composting to work in this sort of climate?

Thanks for your help. Sanitation is a huge problem in Sierra Leone. Iím looking for a simple solution to use at a home for orphaned children.

Reply: You can cover the compost piles during the rainy season. Other than that, I'm not sure what other adaptations would be needed.

Author: admin
Tuesday, December 21, 2004 - 1:36 pm
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Appeal: The revolutionary human compost that has changed the face of farming in Mozambique
By Basildon Peta in Matimangwe, Mozambique
15 December 2004


So remote and impoverished is the province of Niassa after decades of colonial neglect and civil war, that some locals describe it as Mozambique's Siberia. Yet the village of Matimangwe, 2,300 miles from the capital Maputo, is a place where the demands of beating hunger and disease have merged with innovation to dramatically transform organic agricultural practices.

At the centre of this transformation is the EcoSan, a latrine system in which human waste is harnessed into a compost that villagers say is 100 per cent more effective than conventional fertilisers in ensuring sizeable harvests.

When WaterAid, through Estamos, its water and sanitation partner in Niassa, introduced the idea of ecological sanitation to Joaquim Ajibo, he and many villagers in Matimangwe were sceptical. They thought it tantamount to eating their own faeces and drinking their own urine.

But as Mr Ajibo and others realised the benefits of the safe handling of excreta, their doubts disappeared. He said: "The latrine compost is far more effective than the artificial fertilisers which are too expensive anyway and beyond our reach."

Mr Ajibo, 27, vividly recounts growing up in a village amid daily deaths and despair from disease and a lack of proper nutrition, sanitation and clean water. That was until WaterAid and Estamos introduced the concept of ecological sanitation to the sprawling village of more than 2,500 people, helping to revolutionise organic farming.

It took a £10 investment to build Mr Ajibo's EcoSan, half of which was donated by WaterAid via Estamos in the form of cement and a plastic sheet. The remainder was Mr Ajibo's contribution in the form of bamboo poles and traditional ropes he fetched from the bush to complete his latrine.

On completion of the EcoSan, all the human waste excreted into the pit latrine by his family and other villagers became properly managed resources that put the village on the road to sustainable food sufficiency and development. Diseases spawned by the stinking, fly-infested traditional latrines were consigned to the past.

Harnessing the latrine compost is a simple matter. Once a hand-dug latrine is filled and soil and ash are added, it is covered for up to eight months while the family moves on to the next pit.

During the composting process, harmful pathogens in the faeces die off due to lack of moisture. What remains is a rich humus which is used in the fields to boost food production.

Mr Ajibo is proud of how the EcoSan has transformed his life. He said: "It's properly covered and attracts no flies and bugs. It offers good sanitation and if properly managed it virtually means no diseases here.

"There has been a marked improvement in diseases caused by improper sanitation since we introduced the latrine."

He says the greatest benefit is the value that the latrine has brought to agriculture, by dramatically increasing harvests, as better quality crops are produced from the rich nutrients in the compost.

Omar Salimo, Mr Ajibo's partner in a farming association of 50 villagers, said: "Maize, spinach, lettuce, tomatoes and peppers particularly do extremely well under this kind of composite. Once the soil has been well fed with the compost, these crops just spring up from the soil and grow very fast. It is truly amazing."

Before the introduction of the system, the association could barely produce a harvest to feed their families from the four hectares they tilled, using artificial fertilisers. But thanks to the human waste compost, their holding is now 14 hectares of high value and quality crops using humus from the 20 latrines that WaterAid has helped to build.

The benefits are clear to see. Lush green leaves of maize and lettuce blanket vast swathes of earth where the compost has been used. Where it had not, crops had wilted into a pale yellow colour with no hope of recovery.

Mr Salimo said: "We are now not only able to produce quality crops for our subsistence, we are able to sell the extra ones and raise money to sink wells for clean drinking water and buy school materials like books and pens to help our children go to school."

Chief Bonoman Oman's goal is now to ensure that a latrine is built for each of the families in his village. "Our goal is more latrines - no deaths, more food," Mr Oman said.

Author: Anonymous
Wednesday, December 22, 2004 - 8:39 am
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EXCELLENT!!!!!

Author: Larry
Wednesday, December 22, 2004 - 10:02 am
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The Eco-San movement is gaining traction in poor countries. Thanks to Joe for posting this encouraging report from Basildon Peta.
I have read elsewhere of a similar latrine method used in Nigeria and Kenya. A portable toilet stall is placed over a pit, using locally available organic carbonaceous material for layering. When the pit is filled, the stall is moved to another hole, and a fruit or nut-bearing tree is planted in the fertile spot. The key improvement over the common pit latrine is the siimple addition of carbonaceous layering material.

Author: Anonymous
Thursday, December 23, 2004 - 1:54 pm
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To Larry, When is the tree planted? Do they wait for the finished compost first?

Author: Larry
Thursday, December 23, 2004 - 8:21 pm
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Not sure about when the planting is done, but the compost remains in the original hole, avoiding turning or transporting somewhere else. My guess is that the filled latrine is capped with some soil, or optimally a top layer of finished compost with earthworms. Then a suitable sapling could be transplanted immediately. By the time the tree roots reach the humanure it should be well-composted. Reduced handling of humanure is an advantage with this method, but planning is needed to allow for moving of the stall to another pit, and space for the trees to grow. If there is a high water table or nearby surface water, the unlined pit latrine could leach and pollute. Be aware. The Jenkins bucket toilet and above ground humanure composting bins offer better protection for water quality.

Author: Keith Christensen
Monday, December 27, 2004 - 11:34 pm
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That is so awesome, that they are finding the value of recycling their food. I wish it were so easy for our tribal leaders. Larry, thank you for that webpage for the "farmers of forty century" I think that educating those that are open to learn is much more rewarding than repeatedly banging your head against a closed door. Thank you to all our true educators!

Author: Larry
Tuesday, December 28, 2004 - 1:16 am
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Composting humanure is an alien concept for many people. The flush toilet rules the throne, passing the hidden costs downstream. I think "Farmers of Forty Centuries" would make a great film on the history of sustainable agriculture. The book certainly opened my eyes to the value of returning valuable nutrients to the soil.

Author: Anonymous
Tuesday, December 28, 2004 - 8:56 am
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I read the 40 century thing & noticed that putting raw sewage on their fields made them need to boil their water for drinking. Rain must carry it to their water supply.

Author: Larry
Friday, December 31, 2004 - 3:34 pm
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The Asian/African tsunami disaster is mind-boggling, and very sad. It seems there might be some opportunities to encourage the use of composting toilets as relief efforts get underway. After water and food, toilets are an urgent need. Agriculture has been severely disrupted in many areas. Composting humanure can provide not only better sanitation, but also return valuable nutrients to the soil.
I have contacted several aid agencies suggesting that composting toilets might be included in long-term disaster relief efforts. So far no response. Any ideas among this discussion group on ways to spread the word on composting humanure?

Author: Larry
Tuesday, January 04, 2005 - 11:15 am
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The first week post-tsunami has passed, the need for toilets is urgent. But my efforts to encourage composting toilets have fallen on deaf ears.
I shouldn't be surprised by the lack of interest in composting toilets among NGO's. Among the few Emergency Sanitation programs I've discovered so far it is apparent that the agenda is set by the pipes-pumps-tanks promoters, sponsored by Engineers and suppliers, supported by the IMF and World Bank. The Hudson Entrprise Institute has media watchdogs patrolling for incursions on their turf, promptly ridiculing any barbarian who foolishly suggests a regression to primitive unsanitary fecal disposal. They nailed me twice. Corporate control of sanitation development projects is nearly complete. From what I read in some groups, much of the US aid money will go to pre-selected products and services. I struggle with how composting toilets might eventually get on the purchase list (assuming I could even get a foot in the heavily guarded door), since there is no need to sell anything. I see it more as an educational process, a packet of learning on not fouling one's nest, saving water, preventing pollution and disease, and returning valuable nutrients to the soil. A bucket is cheap and readiliy available, but the ancient wisdom is not widely accessible. Can it be packaged? The Humanure Handbook is available in several languages, a valuable resource and guide for many. But it is just a drop in the bucket compared to the overwhelming need for better sanitary facilities not only for tsunami survivors, but wherever sewage-borne disease is a problem. I'm still trolling for ideas among this humanure discussion group. Anyone else interested in this issue?
Persistently, Larry

Author: admin
Tuesday, January 04, 2005 - 12:02 pm
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I was recently contacted by an engineering firm that is seriously interested in developing a humanure bucket compost system for a third world village in the far north. They were having trouble devising a system that was affordable and based upon the water and pipe routine. I agreed to help them if they get to that point, although they said the biggest problem is the cost - almost nothing. The funding agency, ironically, might balk at the idea that there is a low-cost solution to a huge problem. If they get over that hurdle, then I may be making a trip to the other side of the world. Once we get a working, monitored system in use in a village somewhere, it will be much easier to convince existing aid agencies and NGOs of the feasibility of such a simple system in refugee camps, villages, retreats, communities, etc

.

Author: Larry
Tuesday, January 04, 2005 - 3:05 pm
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That's encouraging news. Sure hope the project moves forward. I was motivated to inquire about composting toilets in disaster relief operations by NGOs when I saw a news photo of thousands of buckets in a warehouse, bound for Indonesia. A UN agency supplies the colorful red or blue buckets with lids, each containing some emergency supplies, cooking pot, etc. The bucket itself is undoubtedly useful for hauling water and washing. But it occurs to me that it could also be useful for collecting and composting humanure. A brief brochure in the bucket in the appropriate language could provide clear instructions for successful composting. I'm still trying to find out who supplies the buckets, and their contents. Does anyone out there know?

Author: Larry
Thursday, April 07, 2005 - 10:55 am
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Composting latrines are getting serious attention in Africa thanks to a new book by Peter Morgan, available free online at:
http://www.ecosanres.org/PM%20Report.htm
A comprehensive review of actual installations provides a realistic assessment of these systems at: http://www.wsp.org/publications/af_ecosan_esa.pdf
It looks like the World Bank's water and sanitation program is finally coming around to recognizing the value of recycling humanure through composting.

Author: Larry
Thursday, September 29, 2005 - 1:50 pm
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More Africa news. I want to pass along an opportunity to develop composting toilets in Nigeria in November. The Seattle-based non-profit, Global Citizen Journey, will send a US delegation of 20 volunteers to the Niger Delta in west Africa to work with villagers building a new library, and eco-san toilets. I have been invited to serve as technical consultant for the toilet part of the project, but have an immovable schedule conflict. If you are interested, further details can be found at http://www.globalcitizenjourney.org/
Collaboratively, Larry
www.solartoilet.com

Author: Heather Vogel
Monday, January 30, 2006 - 3:50 pm
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Recently I watched a video on starving people in Africa (I don't recall exactly where they lived). What really, really struck me was the part of the video which showed the sick looking crops of food and the commentary which explained that the people were going hungry because their crops were not doing well because they did not have access to fertilizer!!! Does anyone know how to get the word out there that so long as we are alive, we can fertilize the earth with what the earth has given to us (ie: humanure composting)? These people are pooping and peeing out fertilizer every day while they are starving because their crops are failing due to lack of fertilizer. It doesn't make any sense! A very small amount of education could completely change these people's lives!

I don't know where to begin in how to contact these people and provide them with the education they need in order to use their humanure to feed their crops so that they may eat.

Does anyone have any experience with this? I read that Larry has a great interest in this topic and I read that Joe has had experience in helping folks in third world areas.

I have a passion for composting and I am touched when I think of people or see people being hungry. This is an area of service I would like to be involved in. I'm not sure how to get started. Can anyone tell me how I might get started?

Heather

Author: admin
Monday, January 30, 2006 - 9:06 pm
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Where are you located?

Author: Heather Vogel
Tuesday, January 31, 2006 - 11:42 pm
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I am currently located in Tucson, AZ.

Heather

Author: Heather Vogel
Tuesday, January 31, 2006 - 11:52 pm
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I also would like to let those who are interested know that I sent the article which is posted at the top of this page to a friend/neighbor of mine who does a lot of activitst political work to feed the hungry. She will send the article and link to this website to:
1. The Hunger Project --She and her husband have friends in leadership positions
there,
2. Jeff Sachs at the Earth Insitute at Columbia University (Author of "The End of Poverty" and special advisor to Kofi Annan). She says that Jeff is always looking for new approaches for self-sufficiency.

Author: admin
Thursday, February 02, 2006 - 12:45 am
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Heather,

There ia a doctor in Sierra Vista who recently read the Humanure Handbook and wants to start something there. Email me directly if you want to meet her.

Author: Mathew
Wednesday, April 05, 2006 - 12:11 pm
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Hi there, I am writing a report on emergency sanitation in the developing world. A big issue is innovation and I am trying to include a section on the use of ecosan toilets in emergencies - does anyone know of any examples of this? Or any feelings on the feasibility of it? Also is the Humanure Handbook available online?

Author: TCLynx
Wednesday, April 05, 2006 - 3:12 pm
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yes the humanure handbook 2nd edition is available online http://www.weblife.org/humanure/default.html
The sawdust toilet system is very feasible in the developing world, not just for emergencies.

Author: Larry
Thursday, April 06, 2006 - 10:26 am
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Mathew, there has recently been extensive discussion of EcoSan toilets at the listserv managed by the Swedish International Development Association (SIDA). Check it out through: www.ecosanres.org
The Indonesian tsunami last year was a big stimulus for EcoSan efforts, and there are numerous projects underway.
Is your report for a school project? Agency report?

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