Dry sanitation and waste management projects in Swaziland
Since 2007 Turku University of Applied Sciences has been involved in projects which aim at improving Swaziland’s (located in the south-east corner of Africa) sanitation conditions and expertise in the field. Lack of sanitation in sub-Saharan Africa is a major problem causing health risks, especially for children and the environment.
An already finished project, the Msunduza dry sanitation project (2007-2013) was located in Mbabane in the informal slum area of the Swaziland capital city. The current project, the Mbabane dry sanitation and waste management project (2014-2016), aims to improve the sanitation and waste management in three areas Mnyamatsini, Magwaneni and Malagwane, as well as to spread the best proven practises from the previous project. Mnyamatsini is a rural country area, but Malagwane and Magwaneni are positioned on the outskirts of the city district areas.
In both projects the residents are offered the possibility of hygienic sanitation by constructing and rehabilitating dry toilets. In the previous project in Msunduza there was built more than 40 dry toilets and during the new project there has been built two dry toilets for general use in the area of Mnyamatsini. An essential part of these projects is providing training in sanitation, waste management and grey water utilization as well as research and development of the technological and cultural suitability of the dry toilets, training personnel and the benefits of for example home gardening.
During the ongoing project sanitation as well as waste management has been developed in the Mnyamatsini area. There has been built waste recycling center in Mnyamatsini, where locals can come to sell the different waste fractions and receive information about recycling. The cooperation project sustaining the recycling center, consisting of both male and female villagers of different ages, buys waste from the villagers and sells them forward to larger companies which are specialized in recycling. This way the local villagers receive economic benefits and the environmental situation improves.
Dry toilet technology saves water as well as the environment
Dry toilet technology (Dry Toilet, DT Technology) is a biotechnology sub-region which is related to process management, energy, environment, basic healthcare, recycling of nutrients and food production. The development and export of the DT technology are increasing and its significance globally will grow strongly. Dry toilet technology provides a hygienic, water- and environment friendly, sustainable solution in which human waste is seen as a resource rather than disposable waste.
Training and education
The utilization of human waste for example in food production has its own prejudices. To disperse these prejudices training, education and visualization practice is needed. These as well as involving the local residents play the key role in the Swaziland dry sanitation and waste management projects. Prejudices will overcome the most efficiently when training is targeted to a broader set instead of only to the villagers with whom the project works. For this reason the project integrates the media and local authorities to join the project activities.
In the projects the waste management training is especially targeted for young people whose skills develop in income-producing activities (such as constructing dry toilets, gardening and waste treatment). Co-operation between groups of young people is set to create peer support. Through the groups the benefits of the projects are spread out to the entire project area while the spirit of enterprise and resource efficiency/waste management of the young people is being helped forward.
The inclusion of women and girls in training, the young people groups as well as in decision making is emphasized. Inequality is aimed to reduce by promoting inclusion, livelihoods and sanitation as a human right.