Small School Eco-sanitation Complex - Wherever the Need
Wherever the Need (WTN) has become an expert in the construction, maintenance and training in the use of ecosan toilets. Ecosans toilets are sanitation systems that separate the liquids from the solids for future use in agriculture. Having already built over 700 ecosan toilets in India for individual families, schools, women-only and complete communities, WTN is particularly keen to construct further systems in primary schools.
For example, it is estimated that the simple act of washing one's hands can reduce diarrheal illness by as much as 65%, yet frequently even where water facilities exist, this simple exercise is not carried out. As part of the training in the use of ecosan, hand washing is an important element. It need take very little water to wash hands, but the health benefits are profound.
Where there is a school ecosan toilet, children are likely to reach school early to take advantage of the facilities. They will be disease and illness free. These benefits, and the simple act of washing their hands, give them a safer and more secure start to life.
When liquids and solids are kept separate in a toilet there is no smell. The eco-san toilet have two chambers in each unit, so one is in use while the other is composting. Liquids can be diluted with water, and used directly on plants to give food yields markedly higher than those just given water alone. Solids are isolated in a chamber, where full pathogen-free composting can take place, and the risk of disease removed.
An added benefit of this is that many schools have their own cottage garden, and frequently grow banana trees and tomatoes, as these respond well to the high levels of potassium, nitrogen and phosphorous found in urine. The compost produced creates a rich humus, binds soils and provides extra nutrients. The children love to eat the produce they have helped to grow.
Perhaps the greatest benefit of all is that as the children grow, the advantages of ecosan become very clear, and they want hygienic facilities throughout their lives. Of course, this will then be passed on to their family and later their children, thus creating a self-perpetuating cycle.
Although each project varies in price depending on the size of the primary school, a facility suitable for about 120 children costs approximately $3,000 at current exchange rates.
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